(CNN) – Off a remote air strip in the middle of Chad’s austere landscape, some of the world’s most elite soldiers have come together.
We’re with America’s secretive Special Forces. The ground rules: no identification, no on camera interviews, and no combat technique specifics.
“Utilize that cover the truck is giving you alright?”
Here, the Chadians drill on how to respond to a vehicle ambush. Their commander, Captain Zakaria Madaga tells us, “If you have this kind of training you can defend yourself from death.”
This is Exercise Flintlock, 28 nations in all, American and Europeans training with African elite units to respond to a growing threat from terrorist groups.
Nigerian Navy Special Forces who have lost men to the fight against Boko Haram instructed by the Brits on how to extract a wounded soldier while under fire.
“The countries that make up the Lake Chad Basin have been heavily criticized for their slow response to the threat posed by Boko Haram. As one US Special Forces operator put it, Boko Haram was allowed to fester. So, as important as the tactics learned here are what is equally if not more significant is that this exercise will strengthen the newly-formed coalition.
A regional coalition at war with Boko Haram to the west surrounded by even more threats. From here, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb operates in the northwest; ISIS to the east; dangers Europe already faces.
Among Flintlock’s training partners: Belgium, a country that recently had its own sense of security shattered by extremist violence.
Everyone is trying to do their part, because there is not really a sense of national security anymore, it’s more of a risk society in a sense where what happens far away is eventually our concern.
It is all of Europe and America’s concern, a US Special Forces operator telling us, “We need to build relationships in Africa,” and you can’t do that if you aren’t on the ground.
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