Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Canadian Troops ordered to stand down in Diffa

(map source)

Who knew we had Canadian Troops there?  Apparently we do, and other coalition Troops as part of  training mission Flintlock.  What is Flintlock?   From USAFRICOM:

Exercise Flintlock is an annual regional exercise among African, Western, and U.S. counterterrorism forces, which has taken place since 2006. It is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Africa Command-sponsored, Joint-Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara -conducted Special Operations Forces exercise. Occurring in nations across the Sahel region of Africa, the exercises are planned by Special Operations Command-Africa to develop the capacity and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations. Flintlock participation has included ground and air forces from over 16 countries across a broad spectrum of operations....

It appears that Boko Haram didn't get the memo that this is a training exercise, and from Globe and Mail comes this:

Canadian soldiers ordered to leave region threatened by Boko Haram

Steven Chase February 24, 2015

Canadian special-forces soldiers providing counterterrorism training in Niger have been forced to pack up from a border region and relocate to another part of the African country in order to stay out of the way of fighting between Boko Haram extremists and government troops.

At the same time, the Canadian military says it stands ready to step up its role in Niger if Ottawa decides to send aid. The government of Niger, a poor desert country, recently declared a state of emergency in the border region of Diffa after a number of attacks by Boko Haram, an Islamist terror group.

Troops from Canada are training African counterparts in shooting, communications and mission planning – skills they could use in order to combat groups such as Boko Haram, which controls more than 50,000 square kilometres of territory in western Africa and is destabilizing the region.

The operations are being conducted as part of an annual U.S.-sponsored military exercise called Flintlock, which this year began in February and runs until March 9...

Many more details on this interesting situation here.    All is good though, as "The military is emphatic that Canada’s special-forces troops did not come under fire from Boko Haram and did not engage the militants.... none were injured."

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