15 Aug 2011

Tonga military exercise to focus on counter insurgency

9:19 am on 15 August 2011

Scenarios varying from the Tonga riots of 2006 to insurgency in Afghanistan will be covered by a multi national military exercise hosted by the Tonga Defence Services over the next two weeks

Over 100 military personnel are participating in the exercise, involving 65 US marines and for the first time a contingent of French marines.

Counter insurgency is the key theme of the exercise.

Lieutenant Commander Solomone Savelio says the military has to grapple with aspects of law and order as they did when they stepped in to help the police quell the riots in Nuku'alofa five years ago.

"We need to be more aware and train on how to intertact with the public in times of crisis. Also the law and order issues. Those are the things the military don't usually deal with, its always the police. Now we have to train to understand and know how to apply the appropriate forces."