Stronger together: Senegalese, U.S. Marines work to stop trafficking
By Staff Sgt. Steven Cushman, Marine Corps Forces Africa
NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy -- In a two-week-long course led by U.S. Marines, Senegal’s team of handpicked national policemen learned a systematic approach to personnel and vehicle searches to supplement their current procedures and strengthen their force.
The participating Gendarmerie were hand-picked from across the country and proved to be receptive of practices taught by the Marines, in turn the Marines came to understand the host nations procedures and competence of the force.
A team of five U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa traveled to Diamniadio, Senegal, to train with 19 members of the National Gendarmerie and enhance the force’s capability to counter illicit trafficking through Entry Control Point and Vehicle Control Point Operations, April 27-May 10. Drug trafficking and the movement of other illicit materials into the capital city of Dakar is a significant problem for the Senegalese, according to Senegalese Gendarmerie leadership.
“This training will augment [the Gendarmes’] capabilities as a police force and hopefully counter the flow of these undermining and illegal activities,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Joseph Burger, the team officer-in-charge. “The Marines acted as role players for realistic, scenario based training.”
“It was a pleasure working with the Gendarmerie,” said Burger. “I had heard a lot about the Senegalese military, especially the Gendarmerie prior to going to Senegal. The Senegalese widely respect the Gendarmerie and I heard they were a very professional organization. By the final assessment, every Marine on the team was impressed with the Gendarme’s capabilities.”