Since July 2016, Soldiers from the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) have deployed with the United Kingdom to assist with the European Union mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea. Soldiers from the BDF Royal Guard and Medical Services have provided support to young children and the elderly, those most affected by the perilous crossing between North Africa and the European mainland.
Bahraini Soldiers have helped rescue thousands of migrants, providing translation, cultural advice and medical support to the British Royal Navy. Their deployment falls under the 2012 Defence Cooperation Agreement, which promotes cooperation in intelligence exchange, training, education and scientific and technical development.
“Bahrain is extremely proud that it has been given the opportunity to assist in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean,” said Brig. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard. “This is a crisis which at present shows no signs of abatement, and as such, Bahrain will continue to assist for as long as there is a need for their expertise.”
Capt. Eman Mubarak Al Sheikh, a staff nurse in the BDF Medical Services, assisted medical teams in dealing with migrants attempting to cross to Europe. The crossing was “extremely difficult,” especially for infants and the elderly, she said.
“I am so very grateful that I was there and able to treat those in need of medical services following their horrific ordeals,” she said.
Having survived war, extreme poverty and famine, many refugees have found themselves exploited by “people smugglers” extorting huge sums of money for passage to Europe. The boats the smugglers use frequently lack sufficient fuel — or are simply not seaworthy — and numerous migrants have been killed when their boats capsized or sank. The deployment of Bahraini Soldiers has demonstrated the benefits of mounting joint operations in such a dire humanitarian crisis. Source: Office of Military Cooperation-Bahrain