Royal Marines 45 Commando, Exercise African Winds, Jungle Warfare School, Ghana (Crown Copyright, 2013) [880]

Britain Committed to African Security

Armed Forces Minister Visits British Army in Africa

From engineering support to the UN in South Sudan, to helping counter the threat from Islamic terrorism in Somalia, Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning was able to see the breadth of the UK’s role in Africa.

In Mogadishu, Mr Penning met British troops working with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is building stability, and tackling the threat posed by the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Large Deployment to South Sudan Planned for Later This Year

Following travel to Bentiu and Malakal, the Minister was greeted by UK military personnel providing support to the UN Mission in South Sudan, which is working to achieve stability in the East African nation. Codenamed Operation TRENTON, up to 400 personnel will deploy this year – making it one of the UK’s largest operational deployments in the world – enabling the building of a field hospital to support UN peacekeepers.

After leaving Bentiu and Malakal, the Minister travelled to Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan, and met Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, UN Special Representative David Shearer, and Commanding Officer of the UK engineers in South Sudan Lt Col Jason Ainley.


In Somalia, The Minister met President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre, National Security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow, and Mr Penning became the first international Minister to meet Somalia’s new Defence Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed. He also spoke to UN Special Representative Michael Keating.

Uganda and Kenya

Uganda and Kenya provide important contributions to AMISOM, and in both countries Mr Penning saw UK delivered pre-deployment training.

In Uganda, the Minister saw Ugandan troops receiving training at the Peace Operations Training Centre, Singo, before meeting Defence Minister Adolf Mwesige in Kampala.

Finally, in Nairobi, the Minister met personnel from the British Army Training Unit Kenya, which trains thousands of UK troops every year.

Mr Penning also visited the Humanitarian Peace Support School and British Peace Support Team Eastern Africa, which deliver AMISOM pre-deployment and other training to international military personnel, before meeting Kenyan Defence Minister Raychelle Omamo.

British Armed Forces Supporting African Allies

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said:

It has been a privilege to see our Armed Forces operating across multiple countries, in different environments, in support of our African partners. The training and support provided by our dedicated men and women clearly demonstrates that Britain has genuinely global reach. This is no less so in South Sudan where we are playing a major role in the international peacekeeping effort, meeting the commitment made by the Prime Minister last year to double our support to the United Nations.

Throughout the visit the Armed Forces Minister met Government ministers and UN representatives to help deepen Defence relationships, and discuss shared interests and regional challenges.

Source: MOD (Crown Copyright, OGL)

Image: A Royal Marine with 45 Commando pictured during jungle training on Exercise African Winds at the Jungle Warfare School, Ghana. Exercise African Winds 2013 was a Dutch-led multi- national operation including the Dutch Marines, the US Marine Corps and the Royal Marines and currently taking place in Ghana. The Royal Marine element was made up from Whisky Company 45 Commando Unit. The exercise is based on board the HMNLS Rotterdam and has already run a number of commando training packages in Senegal and Morroco. Consent form has been obtained and is held at FRPU(E) Whale Island, Portsmouth. (Crown Copyright, 2013)

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