Thirteen nations unite for Obangame Express 2024

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Over a span of five days, a diverse group of 13 nations from West Africa, Europe, and North America joined forces at the Ghana Western Naval Headquarters in Sekondi for the Obangame Express 2024. This event, orchestrated by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), was a military interdiction training exercise designed to foster collaboration and enhance the maritime security capabilities of the participating countries.

The exercise saw 111 military personnel from Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Liberia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Togo, and the United States. They engaged in a series of lectures, tactical drills, and cooperative training aimed at strengthening their collective response to maritime security challenges.

A notable aspect of the training was the involvement of experts from various international military and law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET), the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, NATO’s Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Centre, and INTERPOL. These specialists led a comprehensive training program that covered a range of topics from tactical procedures to medical care, emphasizing the strategic importance of preparedness and cooperation in maintaining peace and security.

The training curriculum was meticulously structured, beginning with sessions on hallway and room-clearing procedures, followed by tactical casualty care. The subsequent days focused on maritime crime scene investigation, evidence collection, and practical application of these skills aboard patrol ships. The hands-on approach, facilitated by INTERPOL, underscored the critical role of proper evidence handling in building strong legal cases.

As the exercises progressed, the participants demonstrated their ability to work seamlessly together, often overcoming language barriers through non-verbal communication. The collaborative spirit was encapsulated by the words of Machinery Technician Seaman Apprentice Erica Davis from the Liberia National Coast Guard, who highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and improving collectively.

The culmination of the event was marked by a closing ceremony where participants were awarded certificates, reflecting on the progress made and the enduring partnerships formed. The exercise underscored the necessity of international cooperation in addressing transnational threats and the ongoing commitment to training and interoperability among the nations, particularly in the context of the Gulf of Guinea’s evolving maritime security landscape.

Obangame Express 2024, now in its 13th iteration, stands as a testament to the enduring commitment of partner and ally forces to bolster maritime law enforcement, regional security, and interoperability. The exercise is a strategic component of the U.S.’s efforts to build lasting relationships and enhance the collective capacity for ensuring the safety and security of the regional maritime domain.

Overall, Obangame Express 2024 involves units and personnel from Angola, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia,and the United States (32 total nations), as well as representatives from various facilities involved in the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct; UNODC; and INTERPOL.…Read more by Military Africa

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