United States Special Operations Command Africa’s Commander, Rear Admiral Jamie Sands, on Monday, discussed some of the threats that African nations face, including piracy, violent extremism and Russia’s Wagner group.
Speaking at a teleconference, Admiral Sands also highlighted how the U.S. is partnering with the African continent to help tackle those security threats.
His interaction with journalists came as the U.S Africa Command’s largest special operations exercise, also known as Flintlock, which has been taking place in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire since March 1, is about to conclude on March 15.
He said that the special operations exercise Flintlock aims to help African nations counter threat, including piracy and terrorism.
“This year it’s the first time we have a site dedicated to maritime operations providing better training providing training to better suit the
requests and requirements of our African partners as they face threats along the coast,” he said.
He said that the exercise “brings relevant and sustainable value to our African partners as they continue to face challenges with legal maritime type of activities that threaten the security and economic prosperity of West Africa.”
Admiral Sands added, “On the public and civil affairs side, we are emphasizing the importance of an honest and accurate account of military and law enforcement activities in order to build and sustain trust with the citizens we serve.
“Lastly, it’s important to highlight our sustained effort to enhance the realism of Flint Lock through a focus of rule of law initiatives. Our planners and mentors took a multifaceted approach to create a realistic legal framework.
“Working alongside law enforcement agencies and the civilian justice system, understanding how intelligence, evidence collection and complement procedures enable us to better incorporate law enforcement military units, ensures those taken into custody custody are properly tried in the justice system, and further reinforces the rule of law.
“Flintlock provides a critical training opportunity for Special Operations forces from the US. Africa and international community. Together, we work to exchange best practices to address the security challenges in the Sahel and in coastal West Africa.
“A safer and more secure Africa will result in a more prosperous global society and security environment and I’m standing by for questions.”