NAIROBI, Kenya October 31 – Kenya and the United States Embassy in Nairobi conducted a joint terror exercise on Saturday to test readiness.
The exercise at Rosslyn Academy in Gigiri involved at least 100 officers from the Special Program for the Embassy Augmentation and Response Team (SPEAR) as part of broader efforts to strengthen the the country’s readiness and interoperability in the wake of the growing terrorist threat globally.
The Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), Mine Action Unit, Border Patrol Unit, Emergency First Responders and Disaster Response Teams participated.
The exercise, characterized by a simulation of firearms and explosives fire, was carried out in partnership with the Aga Khan and MP Shah hospitals where the “victims” were rushed for emergency treatment. .
“The goal is to be ready. This is the sixth time that we do this, every time we assess the response times, capabilities and interoperability of first responders, law enforcement and this is led by the SPEAR team which is a group specially designed law enforcement agency that protects diplomatic facilities and personnel. US Embassy spokesman Andrew Veveiros told reporters.
The exercise was also attended by representatives of the Kenyan government and the Office of Diplomatic Security of the United States Department of State.
The simulated exercise included mock explosions, blank shots, fires and traffic disruption around the city’s surrounding roads.
Veveiros said it was very important that regular trainings be organized between law enforcement and first responders to improve response times in the event of a crisis.
Kenya last suffered a major terrorist attack on January 15, 2019 at the Dusit D2 hotel complex in Nairobi where more than 20 people were killed including sixteen Kenyans, an American, a South African, a British and 3 others who were not immediately identified. .
Authorities said the attack was carried out by Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Al Shabaab de Sonalia, which staged dozens of other attacks on Kenyan soil.
These include the Westgate shopping center on September 21, 2013 which left 71 dead including four terrorists, Garissa University on April 3, 2015 where 147 people, many of them students, were killed, among others.
In August 1998, more than 200 people were killed when terrorists organized an attack on the United States Embassy in Nairobi.
Veveiros stressed the need for preparation of security forces and other emergency responders.
“We want to show the Kenyan public that the Kenyan law enforcement community, first responders, guards in schools, local schools, the United States Embassy that other partners are thinking and preparing for this emergency situation and it is important for them to know that these exercises were aimed at improving response times, ”he said.
The mock exercise began with suspected heavily armed terrorists taking control of a van and forcing into the school after attacking security guards stationed at the main gate of the facility, followed by a suicide bombing while others entered the school.
More than 20 minutes after the first attack, a team of highly trained officers came to the school grounds while medics treated the injured. There was an intense exchange of fire between the officers and the alleged attackers as more bombs exploded inside the school.
Faster response teams arrived at the scene to provide support to their counterparts as the attack continued.
They were followed by another team of officers from the Mine Action Unit who used a remote-controlled robot to inspect the vehicle that had been used by the suspected terrorists before they entered the facility where the attack was. active.
The simulation exercise also included evacuating the wounded to local hospitals and emergency rooms, which aimed to improve the abilities of first responders to handle such situations in the event of large-scale attacks.