The ability of and skills necessary to operate successfully in jungle environments – essential for the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) – have been further honed by instructors from Brazil.
The South Americans are on the strength of the Brazilian Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Brasileiras) jungle warfare training centre and have now imparted their specialist skills to two of the three Southern African Development Community (SADC) battalions making up the FIB.
Ahead of the first South African deployment to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the FIB quick reaction force (QRF) by elements of 1 Parachute Battalion, the Brazilian jungle warfare mobile training team (JWMTT) took the Malawian FIB component in hand.
Other QRFs in the DRC come from Kenya, Nepal and Tanzania. All are attached to the FIB, but do not necessarily operate under its command umbrella.
MONUSCO reporter Tadziwana Kapeni has it the training is part capacity building for MONUSCO troops to enable better protection of civilians. “It aims to equip and provide them with additional solid skills to carry out operations in the jungle and in close combat.”
Two weeks of hard slog saw the Malawians trained in jungle navigation, foot patrols, fast roping, troop engagement and casualty evacuation drills.
Speaking at the conclusion of training FIB Chief of Staff, Colonel Felicia Maganwe, urged the Malawian soldiers to apply the training in their daily work with the exhortation to “live up to the expectations of the mission, protect civilians with professionalism and help fulfil operational obligations”.
Mid-July saw 30 South African QRF I receive Jaguar badges and certificates after successfully completing training conducted by the Brazilian JWMTT.
Training included reaction to contact, immediate action, live fire, casualty evacuation, navigation, tactical movement, night navigation, emergency close air support, improvised explosive device detection and base reinforcement drills.
The 30 1 Para QRF members are responsible for training the remainder of South African QRF to join MONUSCO.
Last year the first 200-strong South African QRF was deployed to DRC, working closely with the UN’s FIB and Tactical Intelligence Unit (TIU) to combat illegal armed groups and protect vulnerable civilians.
The QRF is an additional South African element for MONUSCO and QRF soldiers join, but do not necessarily work with, the RSA Battalion and Tactical Intelligence Regiment unit in-country.