Tuesday 29th May 2018
A team of RAF Regiment Gunners from RAF Honington have begun delivering a specialist training package for Kenyan Army personnel who will be deploying to Somalia as part of the Kenyan contribution to the fight against Al Shabaab.
The training team arrived in Kenya on the 16 May and after acclimatisation have begun training Kenyan Army personnel in the techniques of specialist tracking that helps to counter the threat from improvised explosive devices in Somalia.
This tracking also helps to gain intelligence and these techniques have previously been identified by the Kenya Defence Forces as a capability gap and they have sought British military assistance to close this gap.
Flight Lieutenant Graeme Royston the team leader said:
“The highest number of Kenyan deaths in the fight against Al Shabab are due to IEDs. The course begins with the basics of tracking; identifying ‘sign’ such as enemy footprints or disturbances, analysing it and determining numerous factors such as the age of the sign, how many individuals, the sex, size and health of the enemy.
The course then moves on to practical tracking drills, distinguishing between ‘foul sign’, footprints or disturbance from others who are not enemy and ‘sign’ which are from the actual enemy. The students then progress to tracking as part of a team and tracking in hostile areas including what to do when coming under enemy fire. The course will finish with an exercise where the students are expected to track the enemy from an IED emplacement, over many miles, before attempting a capture.
Commenting on the course Captain Apunza of the Kenyan Army said:
“The difference between the best and the rest is good application of skills gained during training. Combat tracking is an essential skill that every soldier should equip him or herself with in order to win an asymmetric war. In our case, the use of IEDs by Al Shabab in Somalia”.
In Kenya the team is being supported by the resident British Peace Support Team (Africa). The training is being conducted at the Kenyan Defence Force School of Infantry, in Isiolo. Where the team was warmly welcomed by Brigadier Warioba of the Kenyan Defence Forces on arrival.
The short term training team has deployed from the Air Force Protection Centres’ Tactical Training Flight at RAF Honington and will be based in Kenya till the beginning of June.
Image: The STTT introduce KDF students to ground signs.