The Zambian Police Service has taken delivery of 50 new vehicles which government says will help improve force capacity to maintain law and order.
The vehicles, which were commissioned into service by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo on 20 August, include armoured personnel carriers, riot control vehicles, ambulances, crime scene investigation vehicles, recovery vehicles and others.
The armoured personnel carriers, of which around half a dozen were seen, are CS/VP3s manufactured by China’s Poly Technologies and fitted with twin machinegun mounts while the dozen or so riot control vehicles are Delong F3000-based trucks exported by China’s Shacman (Shaanxi Automobile Group). The 6×6 vehicles are powered by 340 horsepower Weichai WP10 six-cylinder diesel engines and fitted with water cannons.
The equipment also includes Iveco riot control vehicles, two dozen Shacman ambulances and several logistics, recovery and other vehicles. The 50-odd new vehicles were first spotted in Tanzania in mid-July on their way to Zambia.
The police also received an assortment of folding butt AK-47 rifles, shotguns, pistols, grenade launchers and teargas canisters for use in crowd control operations.
In his commissioning address, Kampyongo said that the new equipment will improve the capacity of the Zambian police in the delivery of investigations and responding to all situations requiring the maintenance of law and order.
In a veiled threat at political opponents of President Edgar Lungu and the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, Kampyongo said the new riot control vehicles will be deployed in full force to quell any protests against the government.
“We will not be derailed by armchair critics who are hell-bent on condemning every piece of development that President Edgar Lungu and his government initiates in national interest because for us as the Ministry of Home Affairs, the peace and security of this nation is supreme,” Kampyongo said.
He pledged to continue the process of equipping and modernizing the police services to enable it to deal with emerging public security and safety challenges.
Police Inspector-General Kakoma Kanganja said as a gesture of thankfulness to government for its continued equipment support, he would ensure that law and order prevailed before, during and after the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2021.
The latest boost to the Zambian police anti-riot arsenal comes three years after it received 15 Maverick internal security vehicles and three Marauder armoured vehicles from South Africa’s Paramount Group.