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Belizean soldiers train in Jamaica for critical Haiti mission

Royal Anglians have patrolled deep into the jungles of Belize to test their ability to fight and stay alive in sweltering tropical heat. The one-month exercise in the Central American jungle saw 150 soldiers from B (Suffolk) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment exercising in oppressive and relentless humidity in temperatures between 28-40 Celsius and 80% humidity The exercise was designed to teach the troops to survive, move and fight in a jungle environment, operating from small four-man teams all the way to a 100 person Company group. Phase one saw the soldiers acclimatise to their surroundings whilst learning the basics: how to survive, navigate, and move in the jungle. Having learned the basics, training progressed into the thickest parts of the jungle to build on their skills.

Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2024. 6:31 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: Belizean soldiers are part of a contingent of Caribbean troops currently training in Jamaica for a crucial mission in Haiti. Approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members arrived in Jamaica on Friday to lead the training program, which focuses on core peacekeeping skills and combat first aid.

These Belizean soldiers, alongside troops from Jamaica and the Bahamas, will be joining a multinational security force led by Kenya and backed by the United Nations. The force aims to bolster the Haitian National Police in their fight to restore security amidst escalating gang violence.

The situation in Haiti has become increasingly dire. The UN human rights office describes it as “cataclysmic,” with over 1,500 people killed so far this year due to gang violence. Armed gangs have filled the void left by a struggling police force, launching attacks on police stations and even the international airport.

Belize, along with other CARICOM nations, is stepping up to help Haiti. The Belizean soldiers participating in the training program are expected to play a vital role in stabilizing the situation upon their deployment.

The Canadian-led training mission, known as Operation HELIOS, will take place for an initial period of one month. The CAF expects to train around 330 CARICOM troops, including the Belizean contingent.

“We are proud of our Belizean soldiers who are prepared to contribute to this critical mission,” said a spokesperson for the Belize Defence Force (BDF). “Their participation highlights Belize’s commitment to regional security and supporting Haiti during this challenging time.”

Canada has pledged $80.5 million to the multinational security force but will not be directly deploying its own troops or police officers.

While the situation in Haiti remains complex, the training program provides a glimmer of hope. The combined efforts of the multinational force, including the Belizean soldiers, offer a chance to restore peace and stability to the troubled nation.

 

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