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Botswana Defence Force (BDF)
History of the BDF
History of the BDF


Formation by Act of Parliament


BDF Act No. 13 of 1977

Ø The Botswana Defence Force was raised in April 1977 by an Act of Parliament called the 'BDF Act No. 13 of 1977”.

Ø The BDF was formed from the remnants of the Botswana Police Mobile Unit (PMU). Uniquely, it did not inherit at its inception, a colonial military structure, facilities and expertise. We therefore, pride ourselves that the BDF, today, stands amongst a handful of militaries in the continent that were truly home grown. It is important to note that the political turmoil in the region at that time, especially the liberation struggle in the then Rhodesia and the political tension in South Africa posed major security challenges for Botswana and its young force.


Former BDF Commanders

At its formation, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe (now retired and Vice President of the Republic of Botswana) became its first Commander. His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, then Brigadier, was the Deputy Commander.


The BDF History Snippets

It was imperative to have a BDF structure with the capacity to meet the people's expectations of a strong defence force capable of providing safety and security to the nation. The 'Lesoma Ambush' in  which fifteen BDF soldiers were ambushed and killed by the Rhodesian rebel forces in 1978 and the 1985 raid in Gaborone by the South African Defence Force commandos in which twelve people perished, served as a gruesome warning of the perils in the region.                                                


Since its establishment in 1977, the Botswana Defence Force has undergone a steady process of restructuring. This has assisted the BDF to keep up with the ever changing tactics of modern warfare. The BDF has evolved from a home-grown Defence Force to a highly professional Defence Force that has all the capabilities to effectively defend the country. With time, it has developed from one Rifle Company on 109 Land Rovers to a fully fledged defence force under three main Commands, Ground Forces, Defence Logistics and Air Arm.


BDF has kept pace with modern warfare technology and has acquired vehicles for tactical mobility and aircraft for strategic mobility.


Past and Present Commanders

Historical Pictures

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