From February 13-17, 2023, North Dakota National Guard instructors conducted joint military exercises with their Beninese Armed Forces (FAB) counterparts on tactics to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the 1st Battalion Parachute Commandos Camp in Ouassa, central Benin. Staff Sergeant Dale Burdette and Staff Sergeant Alex Radi (both from the 817th Engineer Company based in Jamestown) led theoretical and practical sessions that allowed the Beninese military to strengthen their counter IED capabilities. Beninese soldiers learned how to detect IEDs, the proper actions to take when faced with an IED, and what actions to avoid.
This training is important given the current Beninese security context, marked by the rise of violent extremism. From December 2021 to September 2022, Benin registered 43 events involving Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs), some using IEDs as a weapon of terror.
Benin partners with the North Dakota National Guard as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), a U.S. Department of Defense security cooperation program funded by U.S. states and territories including the District of Columbia. SPP counts 87 partnerships with other countries, 16 of which are conducted in Africa.