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The British Army in Africa

The British Army presence in Africa is based upon two main elements in Kenya: The British Peace Support Team (BPST) and the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), and the International Military Assistance Training Team (IMATT (SL)) in Sierra Leone.

The British Peace Support Team (BPST (EA))

BPST's mission is to coordinate UK military assistance to armed forces in Eastern Africa in order to contribute to Security Sector Reform and to increase peacekeeping capacity. To fulfil this mission it has three main parts:

  • International Mine Action Training Centre (IMATC)
  • Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC) 
  • A presence in the Kenyan Defence and Staff College (DSC)

The IMATC is a joint British and Kenyan venture aimed at alleviating the suffering caused by landmines and Explosive Remnants of War by providing high quality Mine Action Training. IMATC opened in February 2005 and is located next to Nairobi's international airport. The IMATC offers an excellent training opportunity for Mine Action due to the bespoke facilities, access to local Kenyan training areas and unique position in a neutral and secure location in Africa.

East Africa's first dedicated dog detection centre is now open at the IMATC and is currently home to 6 mine detection dogs. Training at the IMATC is exclusively humanitarian in nature and NGOs and other organisations operating in a mine affected region are welcome to use the facilites.

British Peace Support Team (BPST (SA))

In South Africa, based in Pretoria at the Peace Mission Training Centre, is the BPST(SA). This team is mandated by the South African Department of Defence to advise on aspects of democratic defence management and peace support operations. The BPST (SA) comprises nine military officers and one civilian support staff.

British Army Training Unit Kenya – (BATUK)

BATUK is a permanent training support unit based mainly in Nanyuki, 200 km north of Nairobi, but with a small rear element in Nairobi. BATUK provides demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high readiness tasks. BATUK consists of around 100 permanent staff and reinforcing short tour cohort of another 280 personnel.

Under an agreement with the Kenyan Government, up to six infantry battalions per year carry out eight-week exercises in Kenya.

Exercises are split into two phases; Live Fire and Tactical Effects Simulation (TESEX), the later with a live enemy. The TESEX system identifies when vehicles have been fired at and damaged / destroyed and also informs soldiers when they are being fired at and if hit what injuries they have sustained.

There are also Royal Engineer exercises which carry out civil engineering projects and medical deployments which provide primary health care assistance to the civilian community.

International Military Advisory & Training

Team - IMATT Sierra Leone (SL) is located on the southern edge of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The IMATT team's mission is to help develop the Sierra Leone Armed forces into a democratically accountable, effective and sustainable force, capable of fulfilling security tasks required by the Government of Sierra Leone.

It was established in 2002 from a training team originally deployed following the UK’s intervention to assist the UN in the resolving a 10-year civil war. Over the past 12 years the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has been restructured and trained so that today the Navy is policing the country’s fishing grounds and the Army are contributing force elements to the UN and African Union, with recent deployments in Sudan and Somalia.

The size of IMATT(SL) has gradually decreased as the competence of RSLAF has grown.

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