October 11, 2019 / 3:13 PM / 5 days ago

Nigeria looks to sign military cooperation deal with Russia this month

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, in Pretoria, South Africa, October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari hopes to sign a military technical cooperation deal with Russia at talks with President Vladimir Putin this month that will help it fight Boko Haram militants, Nigeria’s ambassador in Moscow said on Friday.

The Nigerian leader is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

“We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria,” Nigerian envoy Steve Ugbah said in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency.

He added that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah said a military technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it only needed to be finalised.

“We hope president Buhari can take the talks to their logical end ... The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he said.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams

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