NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5- The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is set to acquire 118 Armoured Personnel Vehicles (APCs) from Turkey, in a move meant to bolster its resilience power in the war against terrorism.
The APCs will be acquired from the Turkish defense and automotive firm Katmerciler.
Kenya will be the third country to purchase the armoured vehicles from the Turkish firm, which is set to be delivered within a 2-year timeline.
According to the firm, the vehicles have a high level of ballistic and mine protection and are designed and optimized for high performance under extreme operational conditions in rural and urban areas for nine personnel.
“We believe our exports will continue to rise as more of our vehicles are used in Africa and their visibility increases,” Furkan Katmerci, the deputy chairman of the company said.
Two other firms, one from South Africa and North America, were locked out of the multi-billion shillings deal.
Kenya is expected to spend Sh7.7 billion to purchase the 118 APCs through the Export Credit Agency (ECA).
Earlier, there were safety concerns about the vehicles, which is a prototype unveiled in November 2016 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 3rd High-Tech Port expo of Turkey’s Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD).
The Kenya Defence Forces, who are part of the African Mission in Somalia, have lost dozens of soldiers to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) attacks in the war-torn country and at the porous border of Kenya and Somalia, making APCs a crucial asset for the success of the country’s military.
Last month, three soldiers succumbed to injuries, after an IED attack in Lamu County.
“These soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the citizens of Kenya,” KDF spokesperson Zipporah Kioko said in a statement, following the May 18 incident.
“KDF remains unbowed, and together with the multi-agency security teams deployed under Operation Linda Amani, remains focused and has the resolve to help bring sustainable peace in the area.”
The new APCs are set to be used to replace battlefield casualties and “to mitigate shortcomings in force protection, firepower, and mobility in a changing security environment.”