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Nearly 2,000 U.S., European and African counterterrorism forces would conduct an annual exercise, the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Friday.

The annual exercise that is known as Flintlock, would take place in multiple locations in Africa by April 8.

“Approximately 1,900 service members from 20 African and Western partner nations will participate in Flintlock at multiple locations in Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal from April 9 to April 20, 2018,’’ the statement said.

The exercise that is held every year since 2005 and directed by the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aims to develop the capacity and collaboration among African security forces and law enforcement agencies, according to U.S. Africa Command.

This year’s drill would see the largest level of participation by local law enforcement officers to date, the State Department said.

“The largest civilian component to Flintlock 2018 is the law enforcement training and equipment provided under the Department of State’s Anti-terrorism Assistance (ATA) programme.

“Through a partnership with the ATA programme, this year’s exercise marks the most thorough integration of civilian equities into Flintlock yet,’’ it said.

The statement also said that the exercise would feature a series of training sessions that focus on tactical rural patrol and crisis response capabilities, counter-terrorism investigations, command and communication management, post blast and crime scene investigations.

Participating African nations would include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal, it said.

Western partners would include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, the statement added.

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