Kenya’s police force has received 30 Norinco VN4 4×4 armoured vehicles from China, which will be used for anti-terror, peacekeeping and police missions by the General Service Unit of Kenya’s National Police Force.
The vehicles were commissioned in a ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 1 February.
“The purchase of the APCs [armoured personnel carriers] is a very important milestone as it will go a long way in securing the frontier areas of our country,” said Kenyatta. He added that the current enhancement of police capacity to combat crime is the greatest modernisation programme in 20 years, reports to the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit.
“Kenya police force will for the first time in history acquire armoured personnel carriers to increase their mobility and protective gear when deployed in volatile areas. You don’t have to depend on the military or other security agents for you to perform your duties, we will ensure you are properly equipped,” Kenyatta said during the commissioning ceremony.
In January Kenyatta said the government has improved transport for the police force and 2 220 assorted vehicles have been provided through a lease arrangement which has more than doubled police visibility on the ground.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the newly acquired equipment was “a game changer in the fight against crime”.
The nine tonne VN4 is manufactured by Norinco and was unveiled in 2009. It can carry up to eight personnel and has a range of 700 km. The hull is made from all-welded steel armour plating, providing protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. The vehicle is fitted with a small turret on the roof – Kenya’s VN4s appear to be fitted with a Chinese version of the 7.62 mm FN MAG machinegun, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Kenya appears to be the only other export customer after Venezuela, which purchased 141 in 2013.
Kenyatta last month said the government is also modernising the Police Air Wing. “As of today, two Mi-17 helicopter troop carriers have been taken in for complete overhaul, while a new helicopter has been procured, and will be arriving in the country in the next few weeks,” the president said in late January.
The president said he anticipates by June this year the police force will have the two new helicopters, and three refurbished units in place so as to improve the ability to quickly move troops to any trouble spot within the country.