The Chinese government has donated 36 vehicles to Kenya’s defence force, including water and fuel trucks, recovery vehicles and earthmoving equipment.
The Kenya Defence Forces announced the donation from the People’s Republic of China on 29 November and published photos showing refrigerated trucks, bulldozers, recovery vehicles and fuel tankers painted in military green. The 36 vehicles were handed over by Dr Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya. They are apparently worth $4.5 million.
China also donated three containers of spare parts, which were handed over to Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo at the department’s headquarters in Nairobi. “This handover marks the continued co-operation between the government of Kenya and China and it projects the future prospects in regards to security, stability and prosperity globally,” she said.
“China and Kenya have maintained close communication and co-operation in the field of anti-terrorism, culture piracy and regional peacekeeping missions in form of youth Security Council and climate change,” Xinfa said. “The Republic of China will continue supporting the people of Africa to independently resolve African issues in African ways, for the sake of maintaining peace in the continent,” he said.
China and Kenya have enjoyed relatively close ties for some time, and Kenya has received Chinese military equipment in the past – for example 12 Y-12 transport aircraft were delivered in 1997-2000, 32 WZ-551 armoured personnel carriers were delivered in 2007, and nine Z-9WA helicopters were received in 2010-2015.
Meanwhile, on 2 December the United States handed over the first six of an eventual eight Bell Huey II helicopters to Kenya at Laikipia Air Base. The first six helicopters were delivered by Bell to the United States government on 17 November, and immediately transferred to the Kenya Air Force. The final two helicopters will arrive in Kenya in May 2017.
The helicopters and other equipment will be used for peacekeeping missions, with the African Union/UN mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and in securing the border with Somalia. The hardware will in particular be used to bolster the Kenyan military’s capacity to combat the al Shabaab group.