Djiboutian Army

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Djiboutian Army
Members of the Djibouti Army during a ceremony in 2009
Members of the Djibouti Army during a ceremony in 2009
Active 1977–present
Country  Djibouti
Type Army
Role Land warfare
Size 16,000 (2016 est.)
Part of Djibouti Armed Forces
Engagements Djiboutian Civil War
Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict
United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur
African Union Mission to Somalia

The Djiboutian Army is the largest branch of the Djibouti Armed Forces and is based in the Djiboutian capital of Djibouti City. Djibouti has upgraded its Ground Forces with advanced additions from domestic engineering and modifications. It must operate in mountainous and other rugged terrain, but it must do this without affecting the mechanized capability that is needed to confront regional forces. The official tasks of the armed forces include strengthening the country against external attack, maintaining border security. It is responsible for the defence of mainland Djibouti. During peacetime the military of Djibouti numbers approximately 9,000 with a reserve force of approximately 7,000


Djiboutian AML-90 armoured car.

Djibouti has a smaller military than its neighbors. However, its security stops against foreign incursions. In reforming the Djiboutian Army, most of the available attention and financial resources have been directed to the development of the Land Forces. Clashes with the Eritrean Forces, in 2008, demonstrated the superior nature of the Djiboutian forces’ training and skills, but also highlighted the fact that the small military would be unable to counter the larger, if less well-equipped forces of its neighbours. The army has concentrated on mobility in its equipment purchases, suitable for patrol duties and counterattack but ill-suited for armoured war-fare. The 2008 border clashes at least temporarily swelled the ranks of the Djiboutian army, with retired personnel being recalled, but the military’s size and capabilities are much reduced since the 1990s. As a result of tensions with neighbors during the 1980s and early 2002, the Djiboutian Army refined existing strategic concepts and eventually formulated a plan to restructure its forces. Though wars were avoided, the threats from the 1980s and 2008 encouraged the army to address more effectively its major defense disadvantage: lack of strategic depth. Thus in the early 2000s it looked outward for a model of army organization that would best advance defensive capabilities by restructuring forces into smaller, more mobile units instead of traditional divisions. Over the years, Djiboutian Army has benefited from material and financial support of various countries such as France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the United States. Currently, the amount allocated to defense represents the largest single entry in the country’s budget. During, and since, the Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict the army has exploded in size from its peacetime size of between 6,000 and 10,000.


Djiboutian Army is located in Djibouti
Ali Sabieh Infantry Regiment
Ali Sabieh Infantry Regiment
Dikhil Infantry Regiment
Dikhil Infantry Regiment
Obock Infantry Regiment
Obock Infantry Regiment
Tadjoura Infantry Regiment
Tadjoura Infantry Regiment
Djibouti City Rapid Reaction Regiment
Djibouti City Rapid Reaction Regiment
One Demining Company
One Demining Company
Djiboutian Army Infantry Regiments

The Army has four military districts (the Tadjourah, Dikhil, Ali-Sabieh and Obock districts).[1]

Its maneuver units are:

  • One armoured regiment (Régiment Blindé) (Djibouti)(comprising a reconnaissance squadron, three armoured squadrons and an anti-smuggling squadron)[1]
  • Four infantry regiments (each comprising three to four infantry companies and a support company)[1]
    • Arms Regiment of Dikhil (Régiment interarmes de Dikhil)
    • Bataillon interarmes d'Ali Sabieh (Ali Sabieh)
    • Arms Regiment of Tadjourah (Régiment interarmes de Tadjourah)
    • Arms Regiment of Obock (Régiment interarmes d'Obock)
  • One rapid reaction regiment (Régiment d'action rapide) (Arta)(comprising four infantry companies and a support company)[1]
  • One Republican Guard regiment[1]
  • One artillery regiment (Régiment d'artillerie) (Djibouti)[1]
  • One demining company[1]
  • One signals regiment[1]
  • One computer and information systems section[1]
  • One logistics regiment[1]
  • One maintenance company[1]

International mission[edit]

Djibouti has participated in international mission in Somalia and Sudan. There are 2,000 Djiboutian army personnel deployed abroad.

Location Mission Size
151 Police Officers


Small arms[edit]

Name Type Country of Origin Notes
Beretta M9[2] Semi-automatic pistol  Italy
MAC Mle 1950 Semi-automatic pistol  France Standard service pistol.[2]
MAT-49[3] Submachine gun  France
MAS-36 Bolt-action rifle  France Likely in reserve.[2]
AKM[4] Assault Rifle  Soviet Union
FAMAS Assault rifle  France
FN FAL[3] Battle rifle  Belgium
Heckler & Koch G3[3] Battle rifle  Germany
IMI Galil[3] Assault rifle  Israel
M4 Assault rifle  United States Used by special forces.[2]
SIG SG 540[3] Battle rifle   Switzerland
Steyr AUG[5] Assault rifle  Austria
Type 56[2] Assault rifle  China
Dragunov SVD[6] Sniper rifle  Soviet Union
Remington Model 700[2] Sniper rifle  United States
AA-52[3] General purpose machine gun  France
Browning M2[3] Heavy machine gun  United States
FN MAG[2] General-purpose machine gun  Belgium
NSV machine gun[2] Heavy machine gun  Soviet Union
PKM[7] Medium machine gun  Soviet Union
RPD[2] Light machine gun  Soviet Union
RPK[8] Light machine gun  Soviet Union
Mk 19[2] Grenade launcher  United States
APILAS[2] Anti-tank weapon  France
LRAC F1[2] Anti-tank weapon  France
RPG-7 Anti-tank weapon  Soviet Union RPG-7V.[2]


Name Type Country of Origin In Service Notes
Norinco WMA301[9] Assault Gun  China Unknown number in service.[9]
AMX-13 Light Tank  France 60[10] Serviceability doubtful.[2]
BTR-80 Armoured Personnel Carrier  Soviet Union 15[11]
BTR-60 Armoured Personnel Carrier  Soviet Union 10[11] BTR-60PB.[2]
Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier  United Kingdom 60[12]
Puma Armoured Personnel Carrier  Italy 13[12]
Ratel-90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle  South Africa 9[13] 12 delivered.[10]
Casspir MRAP  South Africa 9[11] Casspir III variant.
Cougar MRAP  United States 25[12]
RG-33 MRAP  South Africa 10[9]
Panhard AML Armoured Car  France 20[2] 24 delivered.[10]
BRDM-2 Scout Car  Soviet Union 12[10] Serviceability doubtful.[2]
Véhicule Blindé Léger Scout Car  France 10[10]
Humvee Utility Vehicle  United States 14[2]
Land Rover Defender Utility Vehicle  United Kingdom 13[2]
M35 Utility Truck  United States 10[2]
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Utility Vehicle  Germany 4[2]
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Artillery Tractor  Germany 4[2]
Toyota Land Cruiser Light Truck  Japan 26[14]
Ural-4320 Artillery Tractor  Soviet Union 3[2]
VLRA Utility Vehicle  France 4[2]


Name Type Country of Origin In Service Notes
BM-21 Grad[15] Multiple Rocket Launcher  Soviet Union
M109 howitzer Self-propelled artillery  United States 10[9]
MO-120-RT-61 Towed Mortar  France 20[2] Acquired in 1981.[10]
D-30 Howitzer  Soviet Union 6[10]
M-56[11] Howitzer  Yugoslavia
Type 63[11] Multiple Rocket Launcher  China

Air defense[edit]

Name Type Country of Origin In Service Notes
Bofors L/70 Towed anti-aircraft gun  Sweden 5[11]
ZU-23-2 Towed anti-aircraft gun  Soviet Union 10[11]
20 mm modèle F2 gun Autocannon  France 5[1] Used for air defence.[11]


NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Djibouti Djibouti
No equivalent
None.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-6.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-5.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-4.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-3.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-2.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-1b.svg Djibouti-Army-OF-1a.svg Unknown
Général de division Général de brigade Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-Lieutenant
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Djibouti Djibouti
Djibouti-Army-OR-9.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-8.svg No equivilant Djibouti-Army-OR-6.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-5.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-4.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-3.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-2.svg Djibouti-Army-OR-1.svg
Warrant Officer Class 1
Warrant Officer Class 2
Staff Sergeant
Master Corporal
Private First Class
Soldat Première

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l IISS (2012), p. 432
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Djibouti Army". Defence & Civil Database. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (27 January 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  4. ^ Rottman, Gordon (2011). The AK-47 Kalashnikov series assault rifles. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-461-1.
  5. ^ "AUG 9mm". REMTEK. Retrieved 2009-06-04. [self-published source]
  6. ^ Marines, Djiboutians Train Side by Side During Nautilus Archived April 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Marines, Soldiers, participate in trilateral firing exercise Archived September 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b c d "Djibouti displays Chinese tank destroyer for the first time". DefenceWeb. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Djibouti
  12. ^ a b c Djibouti parades new armour
  13. ^ "Army Recognition". EquipmentInsight. 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ "Weaponsystems". Weaponsystems. 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
Works consulted
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Army of Djibouti at Wikimedia Commons