Military Wiki
Military of Djibouti
Flag of Djibouti.svg
Founded 1977
Service branches Air Force
Military age 18-49 years old
Available for
military service
391,797, age 18–49 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
268,730, age 18–49 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
(2010 est.)
Active personnel 16,962 active personnel [1]
Reserve personnel 15,234
Deployed personnel  Somalia - 960
Budget $29.05 million (2005 est.)[2]
Percent of GDP 4.3% (2005 est.)[2]
Foreign suppliers United States
Related articles
History Djiboutian Civil War
Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict
African Union Mission to Somalia

The Djibouti Armed Forces (DJAF) (Somali language: Ciidanka Jabuuti ) are the military forces of Djibouti. They consist of the Djibouti National Army and its sub-branches the Djibouti Air Force and Djiboutian Navy. As of 2013, the Djibouti Armed Forces consists of 3,500 ground troops, which are divided into several regiments and battalions garrisoned in various areas throughout the country.


Historically, Somali society accorded prestige to the warrior (waranle) and rewarded military prowess. Except for a man of religion (wadaad), and they were few in number, all Somali males were considered potential warriors. Djibouti's many Sultanates each maintained regular troops. In the early Middle Ages, the conquest of Shewa by the Ifat Sultanate ignited a rivalry for supremacy with the Solomonic Dynasty.

A Djibouti Armed Forces commander.

Many similar battles were fought between the succeeding Sultanate of Adal and the Solomonids, with both sides achieving victory and suffering defeat. During the protracted Ethiopian-Adal War (1529–1559), Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi defeated several Ethiopian Emperors and embarked on a conquest referred to as the Futuh Al-Habash ("Conquest of Abyssinia"), which brought three-quarters of Christian Abyssinia under the power of the Muslim Adal Sultanate.[3][4] Al-Ghazi's forces and their Ottoman allies came close to extinguishing the ancient Ethiopian kingdom, but the Abyssinians managed to secure the assistance of Cristóvão da Gama's Portuguese troops and maintain their domain's autonomy. However, both polities in the process exhausted their resources and manpower, which resulted in the contraction of both powers and changed regional dynamics for centuries to come.

The Ogaden War (13 July 1977 – 15 March 1978) was a conflict fought between the Ethiopian government and Somali government. The Djibouti government supported Somalia with military intelligence. In a notable illustration of the nature of Cold War alliances, the Soviet Union switched from supplying aid to Somalia to supporting Ethiopia, which had previously been backed by the United States. This in turn prompted the U.S. to later start supporting Somalia. The war ended when Somali forces retreated back across the border and a truce was declared.

The first war which involved the Djiboutian armed forces, was the Djiboutian Civil War between the Djiboutian government, supported by France, and the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD). The war lasted from 1991 to 2001, although most of the hostilities ended when the moderate factions of FRUD signed a peace treaty with the government after suffering an extensive military setback when the government forces captured most of the rebel-held territory. A radical group continued to fight the government, but signed its own peace treaty in 2001. The war ended in a government victory, and FRUD became a political party.

Djiboutian troops with light armoured cars near the border of Eritrea

Djibouti has fought in clashes against Eritrea over the Ras Doumeira peninsula, which both countries claim to be under their sovereignty. The first clash occurred in 1996 after a nearly two-months stand-off. In 1999, a political crisis occurred when both sides accused each other for supporting its enemies. In 2008, the countries clashed again when Djibouti refused to return Eritrean deserters and Eritrea responded by firing at the Djiboutian forces. In the following battles, some 44 Djiboutian troops and some estimated 100 Eritreans were killed.

In 2011, Djibouti troops also joined the African Union Mission to Somalia.[5]

As of 2013, the Djibouti Armed Forces (DJAF) are composed of three branches: the Djibouti National Army, which consists of the Coastal Navy, the Djiboutian Air Force (Force Aerienne Djiboutienne, FAD), and the National Gendarmerie (GN). The Army is by far the largest, followed by the Air Force and Navy. The Commander-in-Chief of the DJAF is the President of Djibouti and the Minister of Defence oversees the DJAF on a day-to-day basis.


Djiboutian Army 2nd Company 1st Rapid Action Regiment, Sgt. Abeh Abdallah, squad leader, aims his weapon during an infantry skills training drill in Ali Oune.

As of 2013, the Djibouti Armed Forces consists of 3,500 ground troops. The latter are divided into several regiments and battalions garrisoned in various areas throughout the country.[6] The Army has four military districts (the Tadjourah, Dikhil, Ali-Sabieh and Obock districts).[7]

Its maneuver units are:

  • One amoured regiment (comprising a reconnaissance squadron, three armoured squadrons and an anti-smuggling squadron)[7]
  • Four infantry regiments (each comprising three to four infantry companies and a support company)[7]
  • One rapid reaction regiment (comprising four infantry companies and a support company)[7]
  • One Republican Guard regiment[7]
  • One artillery regiment[7]
  • One demining company[7]
  • One signals regiment[7]
  • One computer and information systems section[7]
  • One logistics regiment[7]
  • One maintenance company[7]

Foreign military within Djibouti[]

Djibouti troops in first responder course with United States Army soldiers.


France's 5e RIAOM are currently stationed in Djibouti.

United States of America[]

There is also Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, a U.S. force of more than 3,500, currently deployed in the country at Camp Lemonnier.[8]


Currently, approximately 170 soldiers of the JGSDF and the JMSDF are currently stationed in Djibouti, with their base and naval port recently opening in July 2011.[9][10] The base cost a total of $40 million and is a major part of Japan's role in monitoring piracy in the Indian Ocean.[11] JSDF soldiers are based in the "Japanese Facility for Counter-Piracy Mission in Djibouti." and are planned to be based in Djibouti for 10 years as a relay station for any JSDF deployment in East Africa.[10][12]


  2. 2.0 2.1 Djibouti Military Profile 2006
  3. Saheed A. Adejumobi, The History of Ethiopia, (Greenwood Press: 2006), p.178
  4. Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc, Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 1, (Encyclopaedia Britannica: 2005), p.163
  5. "Somalia: Djibouti Peacekeepers Arrive in Mogadishu to Join Amisom". 21 December 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  6. "Présentation des forces armées djiboutiennes". Ministère des Affaires étrangères (France). Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. p. 432. ISSN 0459-7222. 
  8. United States military deployments: Information from
  9. Hajime Furukawa (2011-05-29). "Djibouti base 'in natl interests'". The Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "SDF readies overseas base in Djibouti / 1st outpost abroad to help fight piracy". The Daily Yomiuri. 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  11. Bruno de Paiva (2011-07-29). "Japan: National Involvement in the Indian Ocean Region". Future Directions International. 
  12. Yoichi Kato (2011-08-25). "SDF's New Anti-Piracy Base Creates Dilemma". International Relations and Security Network. 

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