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Nigerian Army unveils Chinese APCs

A VP1 APC during the commissioning event at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. (Channels TV)

The Nigerian Army revealed that it has received 60 tracked armoured personnel carriers from China when it invited television journalists to a commissioning ceremony at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI) in Jaji on 28 October.

In his speech NASI commander Major General Maude Ali identified the vehicles as “VP1 Type 89 ZSD” APCs. The Chinese company Norinco uses VP1 as the export name for the ZSD-89 (previously designated the Type 89) APC that is in service with the Chinese military.

Maj Gen Ali said the APCs were received over three months ago and that more than 100 personnel have since been trained to operate them. He described the vehicles as “dearly required” by the army and said they would “aid the infantry in clearing objectives without stress”.

Major General Victor Ezeugwu, who represented the chief of the army staff at the event, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the APCs and other equipment that he said would help tackle Nigeria's security challenges. “Something very dangerous for the enemy is about to happen,” he said.

The VP1 has a combat weight of 14.5 tonnes and can carry 13 soldiers in addition to the driver and commander. All the Nigerian ones appeared to be APC variants with protected weapon stations for heavy machine guns, which were not fitted during the commissioning ceremony.

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