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Congolese military operating MCAV-20 armoured vehicles

Republican Guard soldiers with Calidus MCAV-20 armoured vehicles. (Présidence RDC)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC's) Republican Guard confirmed it is operating Calidus MCAV-20 armoured vehicles on 22 July, when a significant number were displayed on the streets of the capital, Kinshasa.

The presidential office said two groups from the Republican Guard conducted an endurance march through the streets of Kinshasa. “This march is one of the normal activities of the Republican Guard, namely maintaining the physical fitness of the units and reassuring the population of the presence of the armed forces at its side,” it quoted Major General Ephraim Kabi Kiriza, the force's commander, as saying.

While no armoured vehicles were seen in a similar event held on 12 February 2022, social media coverage of the 2023 march showed the Republican Guard columns that moved through the capital included MCAV-20s. Videos showed the vehicles' license plates ran from 001.11.23 to 030.01.23, suggesting 30 were delivered earlier in 2023.

Launched by the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) Calidus company at the IDEX show held in Abu Dhabi in February 2021, the 4×4 MCAV-20 is a double-cab pickup design with a gross vehicle weight of 8,845 kg.

While Calidus has not announced any orders, satellite imagery of its land systems factory in Abu Dhabi shows significant numbers of MCAV-20s being produced later in 2021. Some were painted green, similar to those of the Republican Guard, and some a tan colour, as seen in service with the Sudanese Armed Forces since the outbreak of fighting with the Rapid Support Forces in April.

A memorandum of understanding was announced in October 2021, under which the UAE pledged to provide the DRC with 30 tactical armoured vehicles that were not identified.

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