The West African troops silently pulled their small boats up to a rust-stained ferry and swarmed up its sides on grappling hooks to disarm the mock kidnappers onboard.
The drill in Ghana’s Volta river on Saturday was carried out during the first ever maritime exercises organized by the U.S. military under its long-running Flintlock programme to bolster the skills of West African forces.
The sea-based training in the first half of March culminated with soldiers holding their guns aloft as they braved neck-high waves before storming a beach resort to defuse a staged hostage crisis.
Admiral Milton Sands, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command for Africa (SOCAF), said the programme had expanded to help coastal nations in the region cope with maritime threats such as piracy and illegal fishing.
Recall that military bigwigs and diplomats watched from nearby.