JTF graduates 28 amphibious soldiers in Niger Delta

JTF soldiers
JTF soldiers

The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the Niger Delta has graduated 28 soldiers specially trained to carryout water operations and rescue missions in its bid to end illegal bunkering. Brig.-Gen. Osasogie Uzamere, Commander of the 2 Brigade and JTF Sector 2 operations, presented certificates to the trainees on Monday, in Harry’s town, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers.
The exercise was the fifth edition of the Waterman-ship amphibious training programme for troops under the JTF Sector 2 command.The soldiers received training in various swimming techniques, such as survival and endurance, freestyle stroke, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly stoke.
Uzamere, represented by the Chief of Staff, 2nd Brigade, Col. Innocent Olotta, said the training aimed to remove the fear factor of water experienced by troops while carrying out amphibious operations.
He said the task force had recorded personnel casualties in the past due to fear of water which resulted to drowning of some of its operatives. “Some of our JTF operatives are from the north were there are no rivers, and which means that they are not used to water and the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“Despite wearing life jackets during rear occasions of boat mishaps while on operations; soldiers stands to drown due to panic on sighting the broadness of water surrounding them. The Niger Delta terrain is quite difficult, and so, it became necessary that JTF operatives receive the best training available in other to better protect the nation’s economic lifeline.
“The Waterman-ship course during operations or routine patrols will ensure that JTF troops can swim, as well as save themselves, colleagues and rescue civilian boats in danger. We are committed at ensuring that our troops are combat ready and well trained in-line with the federal government focus on ending attacks on the nation’s oil installations,” he said.
Uzamere said the training had improved JTF operations and boosted soldier’s proficiency to better navigate the creeks, and as such, put an end to oil theft, pipeline vandalism and sea piracy. He said the training exercise would continue as long as the JTF Operation Pulo Shield remained in the region.
Earlier, Lt.-Col. Caius Baushe, the Commanding Officer of 130 Battalion and Chief Instructor of the Waterman-ship programme, said the exercise which began on Feb. 3 had soldiers listed in three categories.
“Class one swimmers are swimmers that have the ability to stay under water for a long period of time and can also be used to carry out rescue missions. Class two swimmers are those that can rescue only themselves during boat mishaps, while class three swimmers have limited ability to sustain themselves on the river before arrival of rescue,” Baushe said.
A rundown of the graduates showed that 15 soldiers graduated as first class swimmers, 10 class two swimmers, and three soldiers graduated as class three swimmers.

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