The RAF has helped deliver vital training in East Africa to peacekeepers before they are sent to Somalia.
Two officers were part of a team teaching media skills to soldiers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi.
Flight Lieutenants Robin Griffiths and Martin Wade were based in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where they gave training to personnel from the African Union (AU) which runs the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, called AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia).
The three-man team was led by Lieutenant Colonel Hamish MacMillan, Commanding Officer of the Joint Information Activities Group (JIAG) a tri-service media and information operations training unit based at RAF Halton. He said: “Having served with the UN in a peacekeeping role myself in Somalia, I know how important it is to get your media operations right. The students have really been enthusiastic learners and I’m sure the training will help them when they deploy with AMISOM.”
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Armitage MBE is the Military Advisor at the Peace Support Training Centre in the Ethiopian capital. The centre is part-funded by the UK Government and helps build regional capacity for UN/AU Peace Support Operations.
He said: “It’s been great to have the team from JIAG here over the past two weeks. Judging by the feedback from the students, they have worked really well together, across languages and nationalities and they are that much more prepared for their mission as a result of that training.”
One of the students is Major Come Ndayiragije of the Burundi Army. He said: “I’m very pleased to have had this training from the UK. When we go to Somalia we will have to make sure we keep people informed about what we are doing and the work we have done over the last two weeks will help us do that.”
Lt Col MacMillan and Flt Lt Griffiths of JIAG regularly teach Media and Info Ops both to the UK military and to allied forces. Flt Lt Wade is a reservist who is a journalist in civilian life and is a member of the RAF Media Reserves. He has been to Ethiopia before as a reporter and speaks some Amharic, the main language of the country and French, the language spoken by the contingent from Burundi.