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Nigerian military receives first locally produced Mengshi vehicles

EPAIL has delivered 20 light tactical armoured vehicles to the Nigerian military. (Ministry of Defence Nigeria)

The Nigerian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 9 May that 20 locally produced armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were handed over in a ceremony attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Gwabin Musa at Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja the previous day.

It did not name the APCs or their manufacturer, saying only that the vehicles are an improved version with better weapons and communications systems. However, it released photographs showing light armoured vehicles that looked like the Mengshi made by Chinese company Dongfeng, but with the badge of the Nigerian company Equipment and Protective Applications International Limited (EPAIL).

The Nigerian Army has operated Mengshis since at least November 2021, when a consignment was seen at Lagos' port.

EPAIL announced the handover the following day. “We had the privilege of delivering 20 cutting-edge Light Tactical Armoured Vehicles (LTAVs) to the Defence Headquarters, representing a pivotal moment in our nation's fight against insecurity,” it said in a Facebook post. “By producing these LTAVs domestically, we contribute to Nigeria's journey towards self-sufficiency.”

EPAIL added that it is committed to providing comprehensive support for the vehicles, including operator training, maintenance, and spares and plans to export the type to other countries.

Previously mainly a supplier of helmets, ballistic vests, and armoured guard booths, EPAIL displayed a Mengshi with its badge for the first time during an event at Abalti Barracks in Lagos in August 2023. It later identified the vehicle as the EP2063NG01, suggesting it is based on Dongfeng's EQ2063 version of the Mengshi.

Photographs emerged in November 2023 showing Minister of Defence Mohammed Badaru Abubakar inspecting an EPAIL factory where Mengshis were being assembled.

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