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Counter-IED training, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2011

Counter-IED training, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2011

Kenyan Army Sgt. Peter Wachira (left) monitors Burundi Defence Force Warrant Officer Celestin Nzisabira as he crimps a timed fuse to a blasting cap during counter-IED training in Nairobi, Kenya, April 1, 2011.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Austin M. May, CJTF-HOA Public Affairs Office

A team of U.S. Army soldiers from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa recently concluded a month-long operation in concert with the Kenyan Army to develop a counter-Improvised Explosive Device (counter-IED) training program for East African militaries.

Drawing on their own experiences and training, the three-member U.S. team partnered with Kenyan Army soldiers to share information with four separate classes of service members from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Comoros and Uganda.

The initial goal was to ensure the Kenyans could teach the class on their own. By the end of their month in Nairobi, the Americans were doing little more than watching from the sidelines, said Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Moore, mission commander.

“When we first started, the student instructors didn’t know what IED stood for, but by the time we were finished, they were teaching the classes pretty much entirely on their own. We were able to sit back and only assist if needed,” he said.

The initial class was comprised of 20 Kenyan soldiers, eight of whom were selected to remain at the training facility to teach their fellow Africans the curriculum, Moore said. After the first week, each class was made up of about 45 soldiers from various branches of each participating nation’s military.

Each week also saw the Kenyan instructors leading more of the instruction, he said.

The course was conducted at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Nairobi and consisted of five days of learning. Half of each was spent in a classroom environment and the other half conducting practical exercises. Initially, students learned to identify an IED and took an abbreviated first-aid course focusing on wounds commonly suffered in IED attacks, Moore said.

As the week progressed, the focus shifted to foot patrols and vehicle-borne operations, IED recognition, reaction procedures and basic demolition. As a capstone to the course, students prepared and employed a small, simple explosive charge.

“The purpose of the demolition was to allow them to see that the skills they learned out here really do work,” Moore said.

The U.S. Army team included Staff Sgt. Brendan Mcevoy and Sgt. Jerry Kastein of Company C, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry, Kansas National Guard. By the time the trio left Kenya, 149 African service members had graduated the course.

The lessons learned could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, Moore said.

“In today’s warfare – and it’s happening everywhere in the world, not just Iraq and Afghanistan – IEDs are becoming a huge threat because they’re extremely cheap and effective,” he said. “So it’s important for every army to learn counter-IED procedures.”

The HPSS commandant, Col. Boniface Ngulutu, reiterated the point in his speech at a graduation ceremony.

“The awareness we are trying to create with this training is going to be very useful,” he said. “You have benefited, we have benefited as an institution, and we have benefited as a region.

“The impact we are going to create is huge,” Ngulutu said. “We are going to have you go back to your countries, back to your units, and when you go back, make use of this knowledge.”

Kenyan Army Senior Sgt. Kinyua Ireri, one of the eight original students selected to become a course instructor, said the shared learning experience would be highly beneficial to all who attended.

“We are very lucky to have the Americans here to share their experiences with us,” he said. “As a trainer, I believe that it is good to have knowledge, because knowledge always expels fear.”

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Photo prise le 1 avril 2011 (© US Army Africa / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 2nd combined arms battalion 137th infatry regiment, acota, africom, africa, africa command, burundi, cjtf-hoa, combined joint task force-horn of africa, east africa, horn of africa, ied, improvised explosive device, kenya, kenyan army, mil to mil, nairobi, rwanda, staff sgt. austin m. may, sudan, us air force

Photos Combined Joint Task Force-horn Of Africa