Soldiers from A (Norfolk) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, are on a four month deployment in Africa.
The presence of Boko Haram has created a serious ongoing threat in north east Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad Basin, but the Royal Anglian Regiment is helping the Nigerian military to counter that threat as part of the UK’s commitment to help the Nigerian authorities – which has seen a steady increase in British Army engagement in Nigeria over the past two years, the British Army said.
Nicknamed the Vikings, these operationally experienced British soldiers have deployed to assist the resident British Military Advisory and Training Team, and have worked hard to deliver training and support to more than 6,000 Nigerian Army recruits. The Royal Anglian Regiment has also helped the Nigerian Navy prepare personnel for counter-insurgency operations on Lake Chad, and supported the institutional development of the Nigerian Army’s own training courses and facilities.
A highlight is the tracking course which takes place in demanding terrain and includes a 25 kilometre march into the bush. Norfolk Company has enthusiastically joined in with raid and ambushing lessons, free climbing and rope climbing tests, before another long march back to base.
Among other skills, The Vikings have taught Nigerian troops counter improvised explosive device methods, urban warfare drills and marksmanship using the AK-47 assault rifle. It’s not often that the Army finds itself teaching the Navy, but in Nigeria the Royal Anglians have been teaching sailors combat medical skills, how to set up a forward operating base, and field craft skills, something unfamiliar to naval personnel, but vital in the ever evolving situation in the north east of the country.
A key part of the training and mentoring that the Royal Anglians are delivering is to enable the trained Nigerian soldiers and sailors to return to their units as subject matter experts and deliver training themselves. The Regiment is expecting further deployments to Nigeria in the coming months.