Mali’s military has taken into service dozens of new armoured vehicles, including Norinco VN2C 6×6 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from China, at least six Norinco VN2C IFV, along with 50 Kia KM450 military trucks, Dongfeng EQ2050 multi-purpose wheeled vehicles, half a dozen BRDM-2 amphibious scout cars, at least a couple of BTR-70 8×8 amphibious armoured personnel carriers, and six Puma M36 APCs.
The armoured vehicles were handed over to the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) during a ceremony on 3 December at the Kati military camp.
The handover ceremony was attended by Mali’s interim President Assimi Goita, Prime Minister Choguel Kokala Maiga, President of the National Transition Council Colonel Malick Diaw, and other high-level dignitaries.
“This batch of rolling stock and military equipment is equivalent to the endowment of 16 companies, or four combined arms battle groups,” the FAMa stated. “The lot includes tactical combat vehicles, armoured vehicles, logistics trucks, [and] ambulances, among others.”
The equipment will help restore peace and stability across the region, interim defence minister Sadio Camara said, and strengthens the capabilities of the FAMa.
Mali fields a diverse array of armoured vehicles, many of them donated by foreign countries to help the combat terrorism in the region.
The country already operates the Chinese EQ2050 Mengshi vehicles for reconnaissance and troop transport since at least January 2020.
The Puma M36 vehicles were likely supplied to Mali via South Africa’s OTT Technologies and apparently funded by Germany.
In December 2019, Mali received 24 Storm 4×4 Armored Personnel Carrier from Qatar. In October, Germany also donated twenty-nine Casspir Armored vehicles to Mali, while the United Arab Emirates gifted thirty Typhoon MRAPs, and Cougar 4×4 Arnored Personnel Carriers to Mali.