A group of Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14.1 recently returned from a five-day training exercise in Abuja, Nigeria, March 22.
The group of four Marines trained approximately 20 Nigerian soldiers on basic non-lethal weapons techniques in support of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa’s theater security cooperation requirements.
The non-lethal weapons demonstrations had a particular emphasis on basic riot-control formations, how to use shields and shin guards and how to properly use the collapsible batons, according to Staff Sgt. Camilo Zamora, the senior Marine in charge of the training.
“It was a good mix in the group,” said Zamora. “Some of the soldiers had a lot of experience,” commenting on his Nigerian students.
Zamora noted that some of his Nigerian counterparts were instructors at both the entry and academy levels, which improved the training and made it easier to relate the techniques of non-lethal weapons tactics.
“They understood the concept, but once we started the training they definitely enjoyed it,” said Zamora, a native of Weslaco, Texas. “When we were conducting the take-down techniques, the Nigerians were aggressive, which is exactly what you want. It was motivating and showed their professionalism.”
Started in 2011, SP-MAGTF Africa is a rotational deployment of Marines and sailors for theater security cooperation in various African countries. The task force is currently staffed Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, permanently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.