British troops have been training their Ugandan counterparts to help them prepare for a difficult peacekeeping deployment where they will fight the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab.
During their deployment, marines from the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF), will protect the area and sea around Mogadishu airport in the Somali capital.
For more than a month, eight British Royal Marines under the 1 Assault Group have been working on the water and beaches of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda, sharing their vital skills.
This has included lessons in how to use boats tactically in the littoral environment – the shore area – conduct patrols, operate vehicle checkpoints as well as stopping and searching suspect craft.
Royal Marines Reservist, Corporal Chris Carmichael from Crosby, Merseyside, said: ‘So from there we have been able to teach them the skills of how to protect themselves, how to insert properly – tactically into a situation – how to search the vehicles properly, how to detain people if necessary and obviously extract back on to the sea and away if needs be.’
Their training has also involved human security and gender issues, featuring tips on spotting, dealing with and talking to potential victims of trafficking, slavery and other forms of exploitation.
Captain Jacob Katumba of the UPDF marines said these skills will help them identify potential ‘wrongdoers and innocents’ and how to handle these situations during their 12-month deployment.
Captain Isaac Vunya, a UPDF training officer, witnessing an improvement in his troops’ skills, he said it is difficult to fight al-Shabab who use different tactics to their own – including using women and children to carry out suicide attacks.
The 17 British personnel who form part of the Army’s Specialised Infantry Group have focused lessons on intelligence and how to defend forward operating bases.Their training has also covered basic medical techniques, such as carrying stretchers, as well as treating and evacuating injured soldiers under fire.
Lance Corporal Lyndsey Jenks, a combat medical technician from Newcastle, said they quickly discovered that UPDF troops deploy to Somalia without tourniquets – a lifesaving device used when there is life threatening bleeding from a limb.