European Security forces

Piracy drill off Africa larger than ever

As piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off west Africa soars, professionals from over 20 nations are taking part in Obangame Express, a naval-exercise aimed at improving maritime safety and security in the region.

The issue of piracy and enforcement is one that needs to be tackled due to the fact that it’s a growing problem. This is mainly due to lack of ships and trained personnel which is required since large areas of water need to be patrolled and watched over. The more training done with various nations and navies, only helps in curbing the problem. More cooperation and training is needed, and such exercises will only help.

Europe tests amphibious capacity in Senegal

NATO under European Amphibious Initiative, stages military exercise to practice amphibious capacity in Senegal

Three European countries and Senegal on Monday began a military exercise testing Europe’s amphibious warfare capacity to resolve various crises in the world, military officials said.  “This exercise is the first organized by the European Amphibious Initiative (IAE). Its objective is to ensure interoperability between ground troops and naval forces,” said Dutch Admiral Peter Lenselink during a press conference.

France, Italy, the Netherlands and Senegal are taking part in the manoeuvres aimed at demonstrating the IAE’s capacity to plan and carry out joint amphibious operations over a long distance for a long period.

The IAE was founded in 2000 by Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to boost European amphibious capacity which can be used by the European Union or within the NATO framework.

The military exercise is open to all countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said Lenselink, speaking on one of 11 ships taking part in the operation which will last until November 20.

“This is the first time that we are working with so many countries simultaneously. We are looking to improve our operational capabilities to resolve local crises,” Senegalese military officer Omar Kane told reporters.

A total of 3,800 soldiers, 18 aircraft and 105 vehicles are taking part in this exercise which has been organised and coordinated by France, current holder of the rotating presidency of the IAE.

Military exercises and exchanges are welcome from my point of view.  This not only creates a more professional force for African states, but also allows hands on experience with their foreign counterparts, chance to learn techniques and necessary skills.  There can never be too much interaction between the military forces.   Plus for the economic benefits of hosting the exercises is very beneficial.  For more on European Amphibious Initiative here is link to NATO’s site about the concept.

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Irish Troops Train Somali Anti-Pirate Forces

Reported here:

Irish troops are training 2,000 soldiers to help fight Somali pirates who have plagued international shipping.

The five Irish soldiers, who include a member of the Army Rangers, are giving the Somali troops the skills to fight effectively. They are carrying out the training at an army base in Uganda — which is considered safer than war-torn Somalia.

The EU training mission for Somali forces was set up following a decision earlier this year to make the commitment as part of the security and defence policy brought in under the Lisbon Treaty. It is the first time the existence of the mission, which began in February, has been publicly revealed.

Commandant Ronan Corcoran said one of the key aims was to improve the fighting skills of the troops so they could tackle the activities of Somali pirates on land.

“Until there is security on the ground, they can’t be security at sea because these pirates have to come back into ports,” he said.

EU-NAVFOR, the European Union Naval Force, is protecting shipping off the coast of Somalia from piracy. The Somali troops are being taught how use AK-47 assault rifles in built-up areas and how to counter improvised explosive devices.

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