Ivory Coast has welcomed one of France's largest warships currently deployed to the Gulf of Guinea on a mission to fight illegal fishing, drug trafficking and piracy. The ship arrived the commercial capital Abidjan Thursday with a detachment of 300 troops, 60 vehicles and currently two helicopters aboard.
Le Tonnerre, is one of France's three Mistral class 22,000 ton and almost 200-metre long helicopter and amphibious vehicle carriers.
"The permanent presence of French warships in the Gulf of Guinea alongside the coastal countries allows us to give a collective response to maritime threats which are complex and cross (international) borders." Ivory Coast navy officer Major Yeman said.
The soldiers will join training with other French troops based in the region to learn from their Ivorian counterparts according to the commander of the ship Guillaume Tandonnet.
"Our French forces are less familiar with it (the terrain). We are delighted to have the Ivorian soldiers and sailors, and the Ivorian marine commandos to be able to help us maneuver better on the ground which they know better." Captain Guillaume Tandonnet said.
Le Tonnerre meaning The Thunder in French is expected to stay in Ivory Coast until 11 November, according to a statement by the French military. France alongside Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Senegal have been increasing naval cooperation on the Gulf of Guinea.
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