Security drill tests airport’s ability to counter terrorist attack


15-February-2012

Soldiers of the Tazar unit making their way through the roof of the VIP lounge

All airports are said to carry a degree of threat, hence the drill, which involved representatives of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Seychelles People’s Defence Forces, police and other agencies.

All partners had to work together to neutralise “aggressors” and “free the hostages”.
Code-named Blue Sea 2, the exercise had a crisis management group where actions were taken by all parties from negotiation to neutralisation stage, and all moves coordinated.

As soon as four “terrorists” entered the airport’s VIP lounge and held a couple hostage, an emergency operations centre (EOC) was set up in the SCAA meeting room, led by the authority’s chief executive Gilbert Faure, general manager of operations Wilfred Fock Tave, general manager of airport management Patrick Hoareau and head of AVSEC airport security Dobin Samson.

“Terrorists” taking away a woman hostage

The team led the negotiations with the terrorists and liaised directly with the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy Joel Morgan, other government authorities, military and fire services.

After the terrorists requested an aircraft with five hours worth of fuel, the situation got worse and the male hostage was killed, and so was the couple’s driver later.

After the “terrorists” gave a final ultimatum, Minister Morgan ordered military forces to move in, and the Tazar unit surrounded and forcefully entered the VIP lounge, killed some of the terrorists, took some alive and handed them over to the authorities.

Speaking to the press, SCAA public relations officer Lina Laurence said this is the second such event, after a “bomb threat” exercise was staged last year.

“The reactions of the various agencies involved were very good and a debriefing will be held to identify weaknesses,” she said.

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