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Military of Equatorial Guinea

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Title: Military of Equatorial Guinea  
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Subject: Equatorial Guinea, Government of Equatorial Guinea, Military of the Comoros, Cameroonian Armed Forces, Military of the Canary Islands
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Military of Equatorial Guinea

The military of Equatorial Guinea (in Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Guinea Ecuatorial) consists of approximately 2,500 service members. The army has almost 1,400 soldiers, the police 400 paramilitary men, the navy 200 service members, and the air force about 120 members. There is also a Gendarmerie, but the number of members is unknown. The Gendarmerie is a new branch of the service in which training and education is being supported by the French Military Cooperation in Equatorial Guinea.[1] Military appointments are all reviewed by President Teodoro Obiang, and few of the native militiamen come from outside of Obiang's Mongomo-based Esangui clan. Obiang was a general when he overthrew his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema.

Overall the military is poorly trained and equipped. It has mostly small arms, RPGs, and mortars. Almost none of its Soviet-style light-armored vehicles or trucks are operational.

The Armed Forces were reorganized in 1979. In 1988, the United States donated a 68-foot patrol boat to the Equatoguinean navy to patrol its exclusive economic zone. The U.S. patrol boat Isla de Bioko is no longer operational.[2] U.S. military-to-military engagement has been dormant since 1997 (the year of the last Joint Combined Exchange Training exercise). Between 1984 and 1992, service members went regularly to the United States on the International Military Education Training program, after which funding for this program for Equatorial Guinea ceased. The government spent 6.5% of its annual budget on defense in 2000 and 4.5% of its budget on defense in 2001. It recently acquired some Chinese artillery pieces, some Ukrainian patrol boats, and some Ukrainian helicopter gunships. The number of paved airports in Equatorial Guinea can be counted on one hand, and as such the number of airplanes operated by the air force is small. The Equatoguineans rely on foreigners to operate and maintain this equipment as they are not sufficiently trained to do so. Cooper and Weinert 2010 says that all aircraft are based on the military side of Malabo International Airport.[3]

In 2002, a report said "The oil companies do not view Equatorial Guinea's military – a product of decades of brutal dictatorial rule – with much confidence. The army is believed to have only about 1,320 men under arms, the navy 120, and the air force 100. Seven of the army's nine generals are relatives of the president; the other two are from his tribe. There is no clear command structure, the level of discipline is low, and professionalism and training are almost non-existent, according to locals and foreign oil workers. Even the presidential guard – an indication of the lack of trust in the country's forces – is composed of 350 Moroccan troops."[4] One general may be General Agustin Ndong Ona, reported in 2004.

In July 2010, after the visit of Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the sale of a Barroso-class corvette to be constructed in Brazil was announced.[5]



Name Origin Type In service Notes
Armored fighting vehicle
BTR-152 Soviet Union APC 10[1]
T-54/55 Soviet Union Main battle tank 3[1]
BMP-1 Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 20 [1] former Czech military
BTR-70 Soviet Union amphibious scout vehicle 8[1]
Ural-4320[1] Russia multi purpose truck
M-43[1] Soviet Union 160mm mortar

Small arms


Current inventory

An Antonov An-72P on lift off
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Su-25 Russia attack 4[6]
An-72 Ukraine heavy transport 1[6]
Ka-27 Russia utility Ka-29 1[6]
Mil Mi-26 Russia utility / transport 1[6]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-35 7[6]
Trainer Aircraft
L-39 Czech Republic jet trainer 2[6]


  • Flagship: Frigate 'Wele Nzas' [7] (F 073). 2,500 tonnes, 107 m
  • Corvette ‘Bata’ (OPV-88). 1,360 tonnes, 88 m
  • 2 Shaldag class fast patrol boat[8]
  • 1 Daphne patrol boat - 170 tons full load - commissioned 1963
  • 2 Zhuk patrol boats
  • 2 Kalkan patrol craft - 8.5 tons full load
  • 1 Esturaio de Muni class OPV
  • 1 P-183\P-6 class FAC -status unknown.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State, Equatorial Guinea Background Note 01/02
  3. ^ Cooper and Weinert 2010, p142
  4. ^ Sunday Dare, The Curious Bonds of Oil Diplomacy, Center for Public Integrity, November 6, 2002
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f
  7. ^
  8. ^


Further reading

  • Cooper, Tom & Weinert, Peter (2010). African MiGs: Volume I: Angola to Ivory Coast. Harpia Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-0-9825539-5-4.
  • Jeremy Binnie, 'Boom Time - Equatorial Guinea,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 30 May 2012.
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