NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 — Sixty Kenya Air Force fighter jet pilots have acquired specialised training in the ongoing military cooperation between the Kenya Defence Forces and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces according to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The President says 38 more Kenyan pilots are undergoing a similar training set to be concluded by February next year when they will join their counterparts in engaging emerging security threats, particularly those posed by the war torn Al Shabaab militia.
The Head of State made the announcement on Monday while in company of his counterpart Jordan King Abdullah II, when they witnessed joint exercises conducted by elite units from the Kenya Defence Forces and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces.
“I am convinced that now our forces are ready for real problems in either of our countries, or elsewhere, should the need arise to tackle either conventional or asymmetric threats,” President Kenyatta asserted.
He observed that the two states have similar security challenges while emphasising on the need for more military cooperation in areas of intelligence sharing, planning and training.
The Exercise Swift Eagle, conducted at the Embakasi Garrison, simulated threats posed by terrorism and how to destroy them.
Two elite units from KDF – Special Forces and Range Regiment – were joined by the Quick Reaction Force from the Jordanian military in displaying tactics to deal with conventional and asymmetric war threats.
President Kenyatta said the joint exercises were aimed at creating and improving interoperability between Kenyan and Jordanian forces.
The training is part of a Mutual Defence Cooperation agreement between Kenya and the Jordanian Kingdom.
“I would also like to register our appreciation of the assistance the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has extended to our Defence Forces, enhancing our Air Force and Air Crew capacity through a training programme covering diverse skills,” said the President while speaking at the end of the exercise which has been running for the last eight days.
On his part, King Abdullah said Jordan stands shoulder to shoulder with Kenya in confronting the threats of terrorism.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with you against the threats of today. It is a threat we did not ask for but are willing to fight,” the King said.
He said the aim of the joint military exercise was to achieve greater coordination between Kenyan and Jordanian forces, an aim that has been achieved.
“We have started a new chapter in our partnership of friendship. It is a new beginning for Kenya and Jordan,” said King Abdullah.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omama said partnership was essential for maintaining global peace.
Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathethe said the set goal of the joint military exercise has been successfully achieved.
The first drill was of a village that had been ‘taken’ hostage by terrorists and the elite squad of both Kenya Defence Forces and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces were required to engage the enemy and swiftly rescue the villagers, with minimal casualties.
Another drill was of a Government office which was also under-siege, where the soldiers, also managed to rescue the officials using skills and powerful machinery, but ensured there was minimal damage on the property.
Kenya has faced similar security challenges; one was at the Westgate Mall where 67 people were killed and the Garissa University College attack that claimed over 100 lives.
The exercise dubbed Swift Eagle was held at the Embakasi Garrison, Humanitarian Peace Support School.
Swift Eagle is a nine-day military exercise which focuses on sharing of knowledge and skills in combating emerging complex security challenges.
Kenya is faced with serious terror threats from Somalia-based Al Shabaab terror group and its ISIS wing, seen as a retaliation and resistance to the battle launched by the Kenyan forces inside Somalia in 2011.