Cutlass Express creates safe place for oceans

USAFRICOM Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate, Rear Admiral Heidi Berg.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (ADV) – The Cutlass Express exercise will help make the East Africa a safer place for oceanic commerce and help increase prosperity throughout the region.

According to the United States Africa Command Director (USAFRICOM), Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate, Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, there are serious challenges at sea, such as illegal fishing, trafficking of weapons, narcotics and people as well as the ongoing threat of piracy.

The exercise is said to have begun on 28 January, where Seychellois military officers are joining United States, Europe, East Africa and the western Indian Ocean for the eighth edition.

The Cutlass Express is an exercise sponsored by (USAFRICOM), and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) to assess and improve maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security in eastern Africa, inform planning and operations, and shape security force assistance (SFA) efforts.

Held in Djibouti and Mozambique, part of the exercise will take place in Seychelles in a hope to promote regional and national securing in East Africa.

“U.S. Africa Command sponsored exercises like Cutlass Express are part of a wider effort the United States undertakes with African partners to deter and defeat transnational threats and provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development,” explained Berg.

Lieutenant Michel Payet of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) said he will take along 50 officers to the exercise, which will end on 4 February.

“The training is both theory and practical and will be held both on land and in the sea. We will also have two vessels and one military aircraft in the exercise,” said Payet.

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