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China Quietly Expands its Military Influence in Africa

On March 9, 2021, Duowei, a pro-Beijing news media based in North America, published an article stating that China has quietly been expanding its military influence in Africa.

In the past several decades, Chinese military academies represented by Shijiazhuang Army Command College, the National Defense University PLA China and Nanjing Army Command College have trained a large number of military officers for many African countries. Since the Cold War, there have been long-standing military exchanges between China and Africa, including arms trade, military personnel training and military aid.

During the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sent military advisors to support the Tanzanian Army, which subsequently overcame the Ugandan army and took over the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

In the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 – 2005), the National Defense University PLA China trained the North Sudanese army, while almost all the middle-level and senior generals in South Sudan were graduates of the Shijiazhuang Military Academy, including the commander-in-Chief.

The Nanjing Army Command Academy alone provided military training to 5 African presidents: former Namibian President Samuel Nujoma (1990-2005), former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015), former Congolese (DRC) President Laurent Kabila (1997-2001), Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (since 1993), and former Guinea-Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira (1980-1999, 2005-2009).

Among them, in 1964, Samuel Nujoma went to the Nanjing Army Command Academy for advanced studies. After returning home, he led the local people to become independent from South Africa by applying PLA tactics such as guerrilla warfare and encircling the city from the countryside.

The National Defense University PLA China, Shijiazhuang Army Command Academy, Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy and Nanjing Army Command Academy, serve as a training base for military or government leaders across Africa.

In February 2019, the State media, Global Times, had a similar report on the PLA training of African military officers .

1. Duowei, March 9, 2021
2. Global Times, February 1, 201