Exercise Flintlock 2017 – which brings African military units together with western special forces – began in Diffa, Niger on Feb. 27. It runs until March 16.
This is the second time Niger has hosted Flintlock, an annual multinational special operations forces exercise designed to reinforce military capabilities of those nations taking part. “Flintlock calls for training together to exchange knowledge and reinforce our operational capabilities,” Col. Mukala Altini, Zone 5 Commander, Forces Armees Nigerinnes, or FAN, said in a news release. “The concept of Flintlock is a result of a common willingness expressed to fight against extremism and terrorism.”
Units being trained will be able to use the skills against Boko Haram, ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) of the U.S. Army Special Operations Force as well as special forces from Canada, Australia and Belgium will be operating in Niger for Flintlock 2017.
Capt. Sally-Ann Cyr, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment at Petawawa Garrison, said approximately 20 military personnel from Canada are taking part in the exercise this year. That includes CSOR staff and specialists from the Canadian Forces health services group.
She said Canada is partnered with the FAN – the Niger Armed Forces (Forces Armées Nigeriennes).
The Flintlock exercise will involve, in total, approximately 2,000 military members from more than 20 African, European and North American countries. Those include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom and the U.S. The exercises are being hosted in different locations this year, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.