USA Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians from a Horn of Africa team, joined Namibian specialists in a train-the-trainer event in Djibouti in 2011.
USA specialists support African countries and UN members in mine and bomb clearing operations, said the instructor, Master EOD Technician John Richards, a USA navy petty officer.
Level One bomb skills now enable Namibian forces to conduct defence operational risk management, bomb range safety procedures, unexploded ordnance reconnaissance, blasting calculations, handling of electric and timed fused firing setups, and medical triage.
Landmine response standardised
IMAS was created by the USA government in 2001 to handle and dispose of unexploded ordnance in United Nation (UN) counties to help safeguard local populations. Specifications of IMAS doctrine include marking of unexploded mines and ordnance hazards.
Trainees were seven Namibian Defense Force and police personnel from all regions of the country, who now in turn are teaching 20 other Namibian students to take IMAS knowledge to their areas, where some military mines remain from a prolonged war between the former South African Apartheid regime and Cuban assisted guerilla insurgents.
Basic demolition skills include recognition, marking, reporting, demolition and disposal of remnants of war and military exercises.
The seven student trainers who completed the course beforehand were given extra instruction by the Navy in order to continue mentorship after the USA Navy team leaves.
Namibian Warrant Officer Migal Kambatuku is now among the instructors. “Train the trainer gives us knowledge transfer skills, patience, and confidence,” she said. “We are able to save lives and property now.”
The Namibian team is motivated to be self-sufficient in explosives safety education and learning. The trainers said they also learn with every session.
The new trainers and the 20 trainees received a certificate from USA Africa Command in IMAS EOD Level One procedures.
PHOTO; Landmine location for demolition and disposal is named explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), for which training is standardised in International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Some war zones in Africa remain unsafe, and recent conflicts add to the bombs burden.