Saharan Express: Medical Training Course
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Saharan Express participants held a first aid training "dress rehearsal" for the press. A Senegalese sailor leans over a Spanish soldier with a bullet wound in the chest, trying to save his life. The fictional scene took place on a Cape Verdean boat docked in Dakar, during a military exercise involving twelve countries including the United States. This is “Saharan Express 2012,” a maritime security exercise that began on Monday, April 23 in Dakar, and runs until April 30.
The ship is docked in the port of Dakar near the imposing Spanish and Moroccan patrol boats. On board, Cape Verdean, American, Spanish and Senegalese military forces gather for a medical training session.
Here, lying on his back, a Spaniard is "shot in the chest" during a battle at sea. A Senegalese sailor examines him, looks for the exit wound, and performs a series of actions intended to save his life. Nearby, a Cape Verdean bleeding severely from a leg wound, is being treated by another Senegalese sailor.
The participating countries will benefit from other trainings in addition to yesterday’s medical training, both while in port and at sea. Maritime exercises will take place “in the waters of Cape Verde, Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco,” said Lieutenant Colonel Adama Diop, the Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the armies of Senegal.
Saharan Express aims to "develop the capacity of participating countries to monitor and control their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones" eventually leading to "joint peacekeeping or humanitarian operations, as well as operations against drug or weapons trafficking, or trafficking in persons,"according to Lieutenant Commander Kevin West of the U.S. Navy. "No country is able, alone, to ensure total safety at sea," he says.
The exercise encourages participants "to work together, set up mechanisms to fight against crimes occurring in our territorial waters, that are real threats to the security and economy of our countries," agreed Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Diop.