Qatar has donated 24 Storm armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to Mali to assist it combat terrorist groups in the area.
The vehicles arrived in Mali on 26 December aboard Qatari C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. The Qatari Ministry of Defence on 27 December said the vehicles were donated to the Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa).
They will be used by Mali as well as the other four countries of the G5 Sahel group, which are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger. They will be used to combat Boko Haram, Islamic State and other terror groups in the region, especially in areas where there is a high risk from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Storm is made by Qatar’s Stark Motors, which was established in 2017 as the country’s first armoured vehicle manufacturer. The vehicle is based on a Toyota Land Cruiser 79 series chassis, powered by a 4.5 litre V8 turbodiesel developing 195 hp. It has accommodation for either six plus two or eight plus two.
According to Stark Motors, the vehicle is armoured to CEN B6 level protection, and this covers the engine, sidewalls, roof, windshield, underbody and doors. The floor is protected against two DM 51 German ordnance hand grenades. The vehicles delivered to Mali have a weapon station for a machinegun or automatic grenade launcher above the troop compartment.
According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Storms will join Mali’s fleets of BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers, BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles, Arquus Bastion APCs, and a mix of at least 10 Python and four Gladiator APCs made by the Streit Group. The latter two types were handed over to the FAMa in May.
Qatar has increased efforts to show it is a force for good in international security since its Gulf Arab neighbours imposed a diplomatic and economic boycott on it in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
The G5 of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania last year created a military taskforce to root out jihadist violence. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have agreed to provide about US$150 million (118.3 million pounds) to the G5 Sahel force.