Kenya has taken delivery of a dozen Bastion vehicles from the U.S.
Following rumors earlier this month, the U.S. confirmed the transfer of a dozen Mack Defense Bastion armored personnel carriers to the Kenyan Defence Force on November 19, 2018. U.S. Defense Attaché and Senior Defense Official Colonel Kevin Balisky handed the vehicles over to Deputy Kenyan Army Commander Major General Thomas Chepkuto at the military’s Kahawa barracks.
Colonel Balisky said in a statement, “These vehicles represent the unwavering U.S. commitment to Kenya and our shared national security interests. As the KDF continues to conduct daily operations against violent extremism, these vehicles will enhance the mobility and force protection of their troops in harm’s way. We are proud to be friends and partners with the KDF as they secure and develop peace in the border region.”
U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec shared images of the vehicles on his social media page. He noted the vehicles will help the Kenyan military’s “efforts to secure borders and advance peace in the region.”
The US supports the Kenya Defence Forces and its efforts to secure borders and advance peace in the region. To help achieve these goals, today we presented 12 Bastion Armored Personnel Carriers to Deputy Kenya Army Commander Major General Chepkuto. #USKEPartnership pic.twitter.com/AItwfOaMnb
— Ambassador Bob Godec (@BobGodec) November 19, 2018
The U.S. will provide a training course to the Kenyan Army on operating and maintaining the vehicles, which were produced by Mack Defense and based on a vehicle designed by French firm ACMAT.
In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi emphasized the usefulness of the vehicles against improvised explosive devices. The Embassy said, “The APCs will support KDF’s efforts in the fight against extremists, including the use of improvised explosive devices (IED), along the border region. Defeating the threat of IEDs is a critical component of denying violent extremists freedom of movement.”
Amid a counterinsurgency against Islamist militants, the Kenyan military has suffered a number of IED attacks on its troops resulting in casualties and destruction of armored vehicles. Kenyan media have in recent months highlighted the failure of armored vehicles imported from China to protect troops from the explosives.