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France and Nigeria hold joint naval exercises in Gulf of Guinea

French military ship the Mistral. 10/2023   -  
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France and Nigeria joined forces in October to combat piracy and trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea.

Alongside five Nigerian navy ships, the French carrier Mistral began a four-month mission with a goal of ensuring maritime security in the area. 

The French have had near-permanent deployment of a naval vessel in the Gulf of Guinea since 1990, according to Captain Olivier Roussille , Commander of the Mistral.

"The heart of our mission is maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, where France has both interests and strong partners, including Nigeria," Roussille says. 

For the Nigerian Navy, the naval exercises are part of their commitment to the Yaoundé Protocol, an agreement signed in 2013 between 25 West and Central African governments, regional blocs ECOWAS and ECCAS.

The protocol was developed to curb illicit activities in the Gulf and, a decade since its implementation, has seen a marked decline in piracy and armed robbery

Nigeria still faces threats to its security, however, including theft of crude oil and unlawful oil bunkering, and the Navy says maintaining joint drills is necessary in the continued combat against piracy.