Commodore Sajid Mahmood SI(M), Commander Combined Task Force 150 (CCTF-150) visited the Republic of Kenya and United Republic of Tanzania, meeting key military leaders over five days.
As an integral part of Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Key Leadership Engagement on the east coast of Africa the visits proved beneficial in terms of enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation. All the interactions were held in a cordial and friendly environment. Overall, a very positive approach was observed towards coalition activities and their objectives.
During the visit to Kenya, Commodore Mahmood held official calls with Brigadier General CM Khariri, Deputy Commander of the Kenyan Navy, and Colonel Christopher Lutomia Imboywa, Colonel Liaison Kenyan Defence Forces HQ. The Commodore briefed his hosts on the role of CMF and how it contributes towards regional maritime peace and stability.
In the course of his meetings, CCTF-150 briefed Brigadier Khariri about the dynamics of the ‘hash highway’ and ‘smack track’, commonly used drug smuggling routes in the Indian Ocean, and stressed the need for a collaborative effort to tackle the problem. He also briefed the Brigadier about future operations and extended an invitation to open new avenues of our working relationship.
For the second phase of his Key Leader Engagement, Commodore Mahmood visited Tanzania meeting with Deputy Commander Tanzanian Navy, Brigadier General SO Semtaua, Acting Chief of Operations and Training, Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF), Colonel Msemwa and Mr Kenneth James Kassake, Commissioner, Drug Control Commission. Maritime terrorism, piracy and narcotic/human/weapon trafficking issues were discussed along with potential role the Tanzanian Navy may take in order to augment CMF efforts.
Commodore Mahmood briefed that CMF has had many successes in the past and has been able to help control piracy in the region, a fact demonstrated by a period of two years without a successful piracy incident.
During the meeting with Mr Kenneth James Kassake, Commissioner of Drug Control Commission (DCC), CCTF-150 identified the importance of intercepting narcotics traffickers’ at the southern end of smuggling routes, an area in which Tanzanian participation would be beneficial for both Tanzania and CMF. Mr Kassake appreciated the efforts of CTF 150 to curb the menace of narcotics smuggling in the area.
Summarising the engagement plan, CCTF-150 said:
“My visit to Kenya and Tanzania has been beneficial in terms of conveying the role and objectives of both CMF and Combined Task Force 150. Furthermore, keeping in view the importance of Kenya and Tanzania, the same will also help in paving the way for future participation, collaboration and capacity building of both regional nations”.