By Kim Helfrich
Good intelligence is at the heart of every successful military operation and efforts to tip the balance in favour of those fighting to prevent the wholesale slaughter of rhinos are being boosted by the Army’s 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment.
The very nature of the work done by these SA Army specialists means it is not possible to divulge their exact modus operandi or where they are deployed, other than to say in the Kruger National Park.
The troop, under the command of Captain Sam Samuels, is based at the SA Army’s main Sand River base in the massive game reserve hundreds of kilometres from its Potchefstroom headquarters. From there teams are deployed in support of other Army elements, the SA Police Service Special Task Force and Kruger’s expanded ranger corps as part of Operation Horizon, a sub-component of Operation Corona, the border protection action.
The 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment scouts are deployed all over Kruger and surrounding areas working on information received over possible poacher access and exit routes.
Once in position, mostly after long and arduous marches in dangerous and difficult terrain with heavy, cumbersome equipment, carefully hidden observation posts (OPs) are set up and the watching starts. This sees human eyes and ears backed by the Intelligence Formation’s Tactical Intelligence System (TIS) to provide updated information to commanders, either at Sand River or strategically deployed elsewhere in Kruger.
The OPs are manned for up to 72 hours by a single team and they are fully self-sufficient, disturbing their immediate surrounds as little as possible during this time. This adds to their invisibility and ability to gather good intelligence that will assist in bringing more poachers into the law enforcement net. More....