Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has defended the quality of the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) recently acquired by the Kenya Defence Forces for Sh1.1 billion to fight terror.
Mr Nkaissery on Tuesday told a parliamentary committee that the vehicles were tested before the purchase and that deployment was done after they met international required standards.
“The APCs are up to the required standards and their quality meets the international standards,” he said.
The CS was responding to members of the Committee on Administration and National Security who had expressed concerns over the equipment the government acquired two years ago.
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi had challenged the minister to assure the public of the quality of the vehicles after last week’s incident in which eight people, including seven police officers, lost their lives when an APC ran over a roadside bomb in Lamu.
The 30 APCs were secretly acquired in February 2016 to help in the fight against interior terrorism and organised crime.
Experts have questioned their safety following three incidents a few days into their use.
Mr Wandayi challenged Mr Nkaissery to confirm the state of the vehicles, saying there were serious concerns that they are not properly built to protect officers’ lives.
“They have been blown up in smithereens,” Mr Wandayi said.
“We need to get to understand these equipment because there are concerns that they are not properly secured to protect officers on duty.”
While regretting the incident, Mr Nkaissery said the critical element of the blown-up APC was intact and that the officers died from the impact of the explosion.
“Yes, it was hit but the explosion did not destroy everything. The officers [died] because of the impact of the explosion,” he said.
Security personnel have in the past complained about the quality of the armoured vehicles.
In one incident, a group of General Service Unit personnel requested the suppliers to prove the vehicle’s durability and efficiency in the field.
The personnel have argued that some APCs were leaking while others lacked proper ventilation to conduct operations in the Coast and northern Kenya regions.
In another case, the windscreen of one carrier was shattered in the middle of an operation in northern Kenya.