A Chadian platoon practices dismounting during mounted operations during Exercise Flintlock '15 at Moussoro, Chad on 19 February 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Martin)
9 March 2015 By Thomas Fessy - BBC Africa
Troops from Chad are leading the fight against the militant Islamists of Boko Haram in West Africa. Their troops are being trained to fight terror in an exercise deep in the desert.
Down at the firing range, it is the Chadians' turn. American special forces are training them on the machine gun. Chadian soldiers queue to lie down on a piece of cardboard, load the weapon and aim at a target around 150 metres away. Occasionally we hear the "ding" from a bullet hitting the metallic target. But what makes the soldiers cheer is when one of their comrades holds the trigger down, shooting several rounds at once from the automatic weapon. This shooting session is taking place in western Chad, in a section of the Sahel region that skirts the southern edges of the Sahara Desert. It is part of Operation Flintlock, an annual counter-terrorism exercise led by the United States and held with their Nato allies in West Africa. This tenth edition is particularly timely. These drills are taking place against the backdrop of a region preparing to take on Boko Haram in Nigeria. In fact, these Chadian troops may be going straight back into battle as soon as their training is over.