The British Minister for Armed Forces, Mike Penning MP, accompanied by Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Raychelle Omamo and the British High Commissioner Nic Hailey, visited the Humanitarian Peace Support School of the International Peace Support Training Centre in Embakasi on Wednesday (5 April). During his visit, the Minister handed over six new Remotely Operated Vehicles and associated equipment to the joint UK/Kenya Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) wing.
The joint CIED Wing was established in 2015 and provides vital CIED training for Kenya Defence Forces soldiers. This training will help save soldiers’ lives in Somalia and contribute to the defeat of Al Shabaab. The Wing combines UK CIED support with Kenyan facilities and manpower.
The UK formally handed-over a number of different CIED equipments to the Wing. This included six Remotely Operated Vehicles to assist with ‘Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat’ training. These vehicles allow IEDs to be destroyed or disarmed remotely at a safe distance, preventing specialised CIED operators from having to put their lives at risk.
In addition to equipment, the UK also provides CIED training through the joint Wing. Over the past two years, 15 courses have trained a cross-government audience drawn from the KDF, the Police, the Airports Authority, the NIS, and KWS as well as other regional military forces. As a reflection of the importance of the Wing, the UK intends to increase the number of courses delivered here by a further 50% over the next two years.
“Brave soldiers from Kenya and the region are daily risking their lives in the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia. The training and equipment being provided at this counter IED centre will help them deal with one of the biggest threats they face in that fight. It will bring together UK and Kenyan expertise and manpower to provide training which saves soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.
“The centre is part of a big international effort to build a more stable, secure and prosperous Somalia and to support countries such as Kenya which are giving so much to that effort. Last month, the UK Foreign Secretary chaired the UN Security Council on Somalia and next month, Prime Minister Theresa May will host the London Somalia Conference to inject new momentum into the international effort to support Somalia on its path towards stability and prosperity.”
– British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey
The Minister for the Armed Forces was in Kenya as part of a regional tour in advance of the London Somalia Conference in May. The UK is a leading global voice on Somalia, and continues to work closely with the international community, including the Government of Kenya, towards the shared aim of a more stable, secure and prosperous Somalia. This includes supporting the KDF in their efforts to fight Al Shabaab.
The success and rapid establishment of the joint CIED wing demonstrates both the strength of the UK-Kenya security relationship, and the ongoing commitment by the UK to support Kenya’s efforts in Somalia.