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Britain seeks to help Kenya counter explosive devices 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Britain has donated six new remotely operated vehicles and associated equipment to help train Kenyan soldiers counter explosive devices during their peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Visiting British Minister for Armed Forces Mike Penning who handed over the equipment to the joint UK/Kenya Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) wing of the Humanitarian Peace Support School said the training will help save soldiers’ lives in Somalia and contribute to the defeat of Al-Shabaab.

Speaking during the visit at the school late Wednesday, Penning said the vehicles allow improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to be destroyed or disarmed remotely at a safe distance, preventing specialized CIED operators from having to put their lives at risk.

“The equipment and expertise we give to this country is not one-off, we will keep on coming back with instructors,” he said in Nairobi.

The Wing combines UK CIED support with Kenyan facilities and manpower. The joint CIED Wing was established in 2015 and provides vital CIED training for KDF soldiers.

Nic Hailey, British High Commissioner to Kenya said the training and equipment being provided at this counter IED centre will help them deal with one of the biggest threats they face in that fight.

“It will bring together UK and Kenyan expertise and manpower to provide training which saves soldiers’ and civilians’ lives,” Hailey said, noting that brave soldiers from Kenya and the region are daily risking their lives in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The centre is part of a big international effort to build a more stable, secure and prosperous Somalia and to support countries such as Kenya which are giving so much to that effort.

The different CIED equipment to the Wing included six Remotely Operated Vehicles to assist with ‘IED Defeat’ training.  In addition to equipment, the Britain also provides CIED training through the joint Wing.

Over the past two years, 15 courses have trained a cross-government audience drawn from the KDF, the police, the airports authority, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as well as other regional military forces.

Penning who was in Kenya as part of a regional tour in advance of the London Somalia Conference in May, said Britain intends to increase the number of courses delivered here by a further 50 percent over the next two years.

Last month, the UK Foreign Secretary chaired the UN Security Council on Somalia and next month, Prime Minister Theresa May will host the London Somalia Conference to inject new momentum into the international effort to support Somalia on its path towards stability and prosperity. 

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