Admiral Michel Hofman, Chief of Defense of the Belgian Armed Forces, is undertaking a two-day visit to Cotonou aimed at evaluating the ongoing military collaboration between Belgium and Benin. His arrival on Wednesday signals a comprehensive assessment of the military partnership, with a particular focus on counterterrorism efforts in northern Benin and maritime piracy.
The visit commenced with a ceremonial tribute at the headquarters of the Benin Armed Forces in Cotonou. Following protocol, the agenda included private discussions, extended meetings, the exchange of diplomatic gifts, and a press conference.
Celebrating two decades of bilateral cooperation between the two armed forces, the imperative to combat terrorism in the northern region has become a central priority since the onset of armed attacks. Admiral Michel Hofman emphasized the commitment to jointly enhance Benin’s capabilities to prevent the spread of insecurity in the north. “We will continue to develop Beninese capacities to ensure that insecurity in northern Benin does not escalate,” declared Admiral Hofman.
Belgium’s involvement encompasses intelligence, data analysis, special forces training, and combating maritime piracy. The Belgian officer expressed optimism about the positive momentum in the collaboration, affirming its continuity. Specific requests from Benin for the year 2024, particularly in the realm of military intelligence, were discussed during the visit.
General Fructueux Gbaguidi, Chief of Defense of the Benin Armed Forces, expressed satisfaction with the partnership: “Belgium supports us in strengthening our forces. This collaboration enables us to progress, establish a shield against terrorism, and secure our nation.”
Following his engagements in Cotonou, Admiral Hofman is scheduled to visit the Congo, accompanied by six members of his cabinet. The visit underlines the enduring commitment of Belgium to contribute to the capacity-building and security objectives of its partner nations.