The first-ever Kenyan Marine Commando Unit (KMCU) has completed its basic training, marking a historic milestone in the UK-Kenya partnership to counter threats and fight terrorism. 

The passing-out parade at Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa was a proud moment for the ten British Marines from 40 Commando Royal Marines who trained the KMCU over twelve weeks.

Potential recruits were selected from the Kenyan Military to undertake a rigorous training programme, including physical fitness and amphibious assaults.

One key aspect of the training programme was constructing a UK-funded obstacle course at Mtongwe Naval Base, a nearly identical replica of the course used at the Royal Marine Commando training base in Lympsto, UK. This was essential in preparing the KMCU for its challenging tasks to ensure national security.

Successful training completion by the first cohort of Marines has initiated a self-sustaining training cycle, whereby the Kenyan Navy will eventually be able to train their own Marine Commandos.

This is a significant step towards building a robust, capable, adaptable Kenyan Military and the UK and Kenya’s enduring commitment to regional stability and security.

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The UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership, a five-year agreement, delivers mutual benefits for both countries and keeps their people safe. The Defence Cooperation Agreement underpinned the partnership that provides the framework for this training programme. 

In 2015, UK and Kenya signed a new Defence cooperation agreement. The KMCU demonstrates the UK and Kenya’s commitment to countering terrorism and threats regionally and globally.

The US Military is also integral to creating the KCMU, ensuring that this specialist and formidable force is equipped to the highest standard.

Kenya and US established diplomatic relations in 1964. The bilateral engagement between the two countries has expanded dramatically since Kenya returned to multiparty democracy in 1992. 

Kenya and US elevated their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2018 and held their first Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) in Washington, DC, in 2019. Kenya is a critical US security partner in East Africa, especially in the fight against al-Shabaab, according to GlobaData’s “Kenya Defence Market 2022-2027” report.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriot said: “The UK, Kenya, the USUS stand shoulder to shoulder in the shared endeavour of countering Al Shabaab.

This history-making partnership – the creation of the first-ever Marine Commando Unit – is a clear signal of our three countries’ enduring commitment to the Kenyan Military and to regional security.”