US Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) trained officers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) on “how to handle an explosive hazard during Humanitarian Mine Action training,” the US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa tweeted October 12.
The training took place in Kenitra, a coastal city north of Rabat.
With situationally-practical exercises, Moroccan officers expanded their understanding of demining practices, including safe disposal of explosives, to use the exercises in Moroccan military training.
The purpose of the training, according to Staff Sergeant and EOD Element Leader Mierkowski, is to be able to establish a “fundamental understanding of explosives ordnance disposal principles training and actually apply it at the user level or the tactical level.”
The other main goal is to develop “a cadre staff to actually continue this program and create a center of excellence within Morocco to own this program and take it into the future.”
The US embassy in Morocco affirmed in a tweet that the HMA training has made Morocco the first country in Africa to benefit from the US HMA level 2 training.
“Morocco is a strong partner in #counterterrorism efforts, & a pivotal player in the issues confronting the region,” the US embassy tweeted today.
The commitment from Moroccan participants in Humanitarian Mine Action training has allowed #Morocco to become the 1st country in Africa to begin EOD Level II training.Morocco is a strong partner in #counterterrorism efforts, & a pivotal player in the issues confronting the region https://t.co/nSwxTRzwiy
— U.S. Embassy Morocco (@USEmbMorocco) October 15, 2018
HMA level 2 training is part of a program, formerly called the US Humanitarian Demining Program, which has been running since 1988. US service members assist foreign partners through HMA exchange by developing their mine and demining knowledge.
According to the US Marine Corps, the program “aims to educate and train the host nation on removing explosive remnants [ERW] of war…in post-conflict areas, while relieving human suffering.”
Two years ago, Morocco’s army students benefited from a training program with US Marines on demining.
In March 2016, SPMAGTF-CR-AF worked with students from many Moroccan military branches to improve Morocco’s demining capabilities in a 5-week training program. Utah Air National Guard EOD technicians and Utah National Guard engineers also participated in the training.
In November 2009, Morocco reported it had “cleared 561km2 of area, destroying in the process 482 mines, 2,628 ERW, and 22,105 pieces of small arms ammunition,” according to the US Marine Corps.
— Marine Forces Eur_Af (@MarForEUR_AF) October 10, 2018