The first-ever Kenyan Marine Commando Unit (KMCU) has completed its basic training with the famous Royal Marines.
The newly-created Kenyan Marine Commando Unit will be an elite fighting force with the ability to conduct specialised amphibious operations to weaken and disrupt threats in the region, and take the fight to al-Shabaab.
The Kenyan Marines, whose motto is ‘Quell the Storm’, were trained by a ten-strong specialist training team from Royal Marines 40 Commando who put the KMCU through 12 weeks of intensive training, including having to tackle a 500m assault course at Mtongwe Navy Base in Mombasa.
Potential recruits were selected from the Kenyan military, with the programme including a UK-funded obstacle course that is a near identical replica of that used by Royal Marine recruits.
Training ended with a final exercise that saw the marines carry out reconnaissance on an ‘enemy target’ after an amphibious landing, feeding information to commanders for an attack.
The 26 marines officially completed their basic training on 5 May and will go onto counter terrorist threats.
The new unit marked the completion of their training with a passing-out parade at Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa.
UK training Kenyan commandos part of UK-Kenya ‘Strategic Partnership’
The creation of the KMCU is part of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership, a five-year agreement aimed at delivering mutual benefits to both countries – underpinned by the Defence Co-operation Agreement that provided the training programme.
The first cohort of Kenyan Marines have started a self-sustaining training cycle, allowing the Kenyan Navy to eventually train their own marine commandos.
The US military is also an integral part of the creation of the KCMU, ensuring the new specialist force are equipped to the highest standard.
Kenyan commando unit is “History-Making”
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot said the UK, US and Kenya stand “shoulder to shoulder in the shared endeavour of countering Al-Shabaab”.
“This history-making partnership – the creation of the first-ever Marine Commando Unit – is a clear signal of our three countries’ enduring commitment to the Kenyan military and to regional security,” she said.
Captain Toby Robinson, in charge of the 40 Commando training team in Kenya, said: “It’s been a fantastic experience working alongside our Kenyan partners and a privilege to be involved in this historical moment, with the establishment of their Marine Force.
“I was most impressed with their motivation while on course, which made them a pleasure to teach.
“Looking forward, the marines will soon be applying their new skills, providing security and stability along the Kenyan coastline and potentially wider Indian Ocean.
“After taking the first course through, I feel a close partnership with the Kenyan Marines and will be tracking their progress in the coming years.”
One of the new Kenyan Marines, a senior private named Peter, said: “The experience has been good. I never expected to interact with the UK military. It has challenged me, made me grow and makes me part of an elite force.”
Another, Nelson, said: “I’m looking forward to being part of the most elite force in Kenya. I’m very happy. It takes a lot to be a part of this. You have to be determined, willing to sacrifice and persevere because it’s not easy.”
Talking about working with the Royal Marines, he added: “Those guys are the best I’ve ever met and their training is about the basics, growing you to become the best you can be.”
Another, Eric, added: “It’s changed my mind-set, my physical fitness. We’ve learnt so much and we’ve also learnt some language, including saying ‘hoofing’ when something is excellent. We used to say route march but now we say ‘yomping’. I’ve loved being on the course.”