Thursday, April 19, 2018

CSOR Helping Train in Niger

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 
A CSOR Member training an African soldier during Exercise FLINTLOCK 2016. 
Canadian special forces from Petawawa are in Africa training troops as part of a U.S. exercise.

A team of around 20 individuals are involved with Exercise Flintlock 2018, which runs until April 20, said Capt. Sally-Ann Cyr, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, or CSOR.

The exercise started April 1 and involves 1,500 military personnel from 20 African and western nations. Training is being conducted in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.

CSOR is working with soldiers from les Forces Armées Nigérienne in Niger, said Cyr.

No other units from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command are participating this year. In the past, helicopters from 427 Canadian Special Operations Aviation Squadron, also based at Petawawa, have been used during Flintlock.

Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s largest annual special forces exercise.

Participating nations this year include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Cyr said CSOR is focused on providing training in the law of armed conflict, ethics, marksmanship, mounted and dismounted operations, medical and casualty evacuations, and navigation. The training concentrates on core skills, interagency cooperation and coordination, she added.
Niger and other countries in the region are dealing with a growing extremist threat.

“Not one week goes by without our population, our defence and security forces, in all of our countries being touched by some sort of terrorist or armed attack,” Niger’s Minister of Defense Kalla Moutari said at the Flintlock 2018 opening ceremony. “No one country can face all these complex challenges alone.”

In Niger, the number of U.S. military personnel has grown from 100 to 800 in the past five years, and the U.S. is building a drone base in the country’s north. In October, four U.S. special forces soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers were killed in an ambush. Islamic State fighters have taken credit for that attack.

Regional threats include al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso, Islamic State-affiliated fighters in Niger and Nigeria and the Nigeria-based Boko Haram.

(With files from the Associated Press)

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