Last week (November 1st -8th), Djibouti hosted the second annual 'Cutlass Express' exercise. This maritime interdiction exercise included sailors from Djibouti, Burundi, Comoros, Kenya, Seychelles, Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda.
Workshops were also held in Mauritius and Tanzania with their respective naval forces. The exercise focused on combating illegal fishing, illicit trafficking and piracy. A liaison officer for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa based in Djibouti noted that the exercise in Djibouti underlined the concept that East Africa countries could work together.
"As these countries join as one cooperative effort in East Africa, they're able to minimize the possibilities of organizations that look to disrupt the stability within this region," he said. U.S. sailors and Royal Netherlands Marines worked together with the East African participants prior to the exercise, providing some basic elements of maritime interdiction and combat skills.
Participants from the U.S. Navy's Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command also assisted. The 'Cutlass Express' exercise is an annual affair.