Nairobi — A choir sings during church service, a family leisurely strolls through the market, and laughter rings out from a friendly card game. Suddenly, a rebel group interrupts the peacefulness of the African village on a quiet afternoon.
A radical faction enters the marketplace and threatens the civilians. The churchgoers abruptly evacuate the church, and the villagers scatter in an attempt to hide from the danger.
The police immediately arrive in response to the commotion. Due to lack of manpower and training to handle this particular situation, the police chief calls in support from the local peacekeeping unit. The specialized unit arrives instantaneously, assesses the situation, develops a plan, and puts the necessary precautionary measures into action.
This kind of scenario is the specialty of new Amani Peace Support Operations Village, located at The International Peace Support Training Centre in Embakasi, Kenya. The village allows peacekeeping units to practice in different environments.
"The projects we have set up -- for instance, the African Village -- are being constructed in order to facilitate the training, especially in the East African region, where there are not just urban environments but also rural settings," said U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Luis R. Rivera, liaison and project manager for phase four of the Amani Peace Support Operations Village.
The settings include a skills house, the African village, a mosque, a church, a marketplace, a rebel camp and a patrol base.
Amani Peace Support Operations Village is a unique project in the region. The models of various peace support operations environments are very important to the participants since they will deploy to similar situations, said Kenyan Major Johnson Kiplagat Chelelgo, project manager for phase four of the village.
The project was built in four stages by the collective cooperation of Kenya, Canada, Britain and the U.S. The peace-training village is equipped to support a wide array of scenario-based training for all classes provided.
The international partners celebrated together during an inauguration ceremony August 8, 2012, signifying the completion of phase four of the village.
"Phase four will assist us to create more scenarios that are more relevant for African situations. Having a rebel camp [helps] because in Africa, most challenges are internal conflicts and most internal conflicts are insurgencies so putting up a rebel camp is very important since it replicates exactly what's happening in some countries that are going through some security challenges within the region," said Chelelgo.
The IPSTC offers strategic, operational and tactical level peace operations training. The training village simulates a typical peace mission environment in order to enhance efficiency and provide practical tactical skills while supporting peacekeeping missions.
The cooperative spirit of the IPSTC and the partner nations clearly demonstrates the commitment to the continent of Africa by and in assisting in developing unique capabilities for security personnel from military, police, and civilian sectors, said U.S. Army Major General Rob Baker, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander.