A few years ago, the armored car business was one of United Arab Emirates fastest-growing industries. As the country tried to boost its domestic security in a volatile region, armored car dealers sprouted up by the dozens, and sales jumped almost seven fold in five years.
But while the Middle East is still volatile, UAE officials have weathered the Arab Spring uprising and other security threats in the region, forcing demand for armored car sales to decline in the past years.
So to keep their business humming, makers of the cars are turning to the export market — becoming the latest of many industries to look beyond UEA borders for growth. And perhaps no region is more attractive as a market for armored cars than Africa– especially Cameroon, where the government is battling separatist forces in the Southwestern part and Islamist in the Northern region.
Cameroon’s defense forces have ordered new Panthera T6 armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Minerva Special Purpose Vehicles (MSPV), sources according to Jane, Military Technology News agency.
‘MSPV’s tactical and specialised vehicles cover military solutions (armored personnel carriers, troopers, mobile command-and-control and more), homeland protection (border control, riot-control, monitoring), ambulances and civil protection’ Mineva said on its website.
The Panthera series includes armored personnel carriers of various sizes, from 6t to 23t gross vehicle weight (GVW), command and control vehicles, fast-response light armored vehicles and light patrol vehicles.
According to Jane’s the vehicles were ordered to help BIR combat secessionists in the North West and South West regions, in the so-called Operation ‘Chacal’ (Jackal).
The move comes as the US and other western countries warn Cameroonian against using military hardware provided by the US in the human rights abuses in the ongoing Anglophone crisis.
Minerva Special Purpose Vehicles (MSPV) is based in the UEA. The company ‘specializes in high-quality armored vehicles. Our vehicles are the perfect choice for a variety of customers including military and peacekeeping forces, police forces, border patrols, security companies, NGO’s and embassies, as well as all organizations and individuals living and working in hostile or high-risk environments’.