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More than 30 African and partner nations will participate in Flintlock 2020

Flintlock exercises have taken place annually since 2005 across the Sahel region of Africa among nations participating in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership and are planned by African-partner nation special operations forces, SOCAFRICA, and the U.S. For the edition 2020, approximately 1,600 service members from more than 30 African and partner nations will participate in Flintlock at multiple locations in Mauritania and Senegal from February 17-28, 2020. est laborum.

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Malian special forces soldiers tactically clear rooms near base camp Loumbila, in Burkina Faso on Feb. 25, 2019. The close-quarters battle training events are part of Flintlock 2019 exercise scenarios. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

This year Flintlock will be hosted by Mauritania with one outstation in Senegal. The exercise is designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders, and provide security for their people. The willingness of Mauritania and Senegal to host this year’s exercise reflects a positive and broader commitment by African partners to help solve African problems. Additionally, the exercise bolsters partnerships between African, U.S., and International Special Operations Forces and law enforcement agencies, increasing their ability to work together during ongoing multinational operations and in response to crises.

Participating African nations include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. International partners include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Flintlock reflects a mutual commitment to countering malign activity and violent extremists throughout the trans-Sahel region. Since 2005, nations from throughout Africa, Europe, North America and elsewhere have come together in austere environments to work and train together with one clear goal: to help improve conditions and the capabilities of partner nations so the people in this region can pursue a life free from violence.

While regional security is the main focus of the exercise, lessons learned and shared at Flintlock will create lasting effects beyond North and West Africa. The terrorists who seek to expand their influence here also potentially threaten our friends throughout the world. By bringing together the considerable talent of African and international partners, we are collectively stronger, and we can stop the cancer of violent extremism from spreading.

Flintlock is not focused on any specific security situation but instead on developing capacity and strengthening bonds among exercise participants. Each of the hosting nations have been instrumental in leading the planning efforts of Flintlock 2020, and this cumulative exercise will continue to build on the success of previous Flintlock exercises to make all of us stronger and ready to take on the challenges of today and the years to come.

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