Africa’s top arms-buyer alarmed by Morocco’s recent arms purchases

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Algeria, the number one arms purchaser on the African continent, has voiced concerns that the number two arms purchaser, Morocco, is purchasing too many arms.

Moroccan CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Moroccan CH-47 Chinook helicopter

After reports that Morocco had acquired Russian-made missile batteries, the Algerian newspaper Al-Shorouq accused Morocco of stirring up conflict and threatening its neighbors.

Further fraying Algeria’s nerves are reports that Morocco and Russia are close to reaching a deal on the price tag of a Russian-made Amur 1650, which would be the kingdom’s first submarine. The deal is expected to be completed during King Mohammed VI’s trip to Moscow later this year.

Related: Moroccan king set to seal submarine deal during Moscow visit, Aug. 9, 2015.

Algeria was also said to be concerned after Morocco purchased three U.S. Army CH-470 Chinook transport helicopters, which arrived in Tangier last weekend after seven months of refurbishment.

Morroco also plans to reinforce its four new frigate warships by acquiring helicopters with anti-submarine capabilities from Russia.

Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports that Morocco is the second largest importer of arms in Africa, accounting for 26 per cent of the continent’s overall imports between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014.

Algeria is the largest arms importer with 30 percent of the continent’s imports. Sudan is third at 6 percent.

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