As part of measures to further fight terrorism on the continent, Senegal on Monday opened its doors to African and western special forces operatives for the annual Flintlock exercise.
This year’s exercise, the third to be hosted by Senegal after 2005 and 2011, is considered one of the largest military trainings.
The goal is to among others increase safety and security in West Africa as well as promote multilateral exchange of information among participating countries.
Some 1,700 soldiers from 14 African countries will join special forces operatives from 19 European and North American countries for the training at various locations in Senegal and Mauritania.
At the heart of the operations will be the fight against terrorism, a challenge both Africa and the West hope to overcome through increased military cooperation.
Flintlock 2016 comes on the heels of increased terror attacks within the sub region notably the November suicide bombings in Bamako and the recent attacks in Ouagadougou.
Senegalese officials and western intelligence sources believe Senegal might be a possible target for jihadists as dozens of its nationals have joined the Islamic state in Libya.
The Flintlock programme is expected to help Senegal and the other participating countries improve upon their preparedness to deal with any possible terror attack.
Flintlock 2016 runs from February 8 to 29 2016.