1,100 BIR commandos are currently undergoing rigorous training at Limbe’s Man of War Bay; the headquarters of the Coastal Guard for the South West Region.
With grim , dark and pale faces, dressed in ‘ Gallo’ suits , 15 BIR commandos struggle to lift an electric pole.
It will take a few minutes of struggle and the electric pole gets to their shoulders.
The next challenge will be to lift it up while counting, for at least ten times, before placing it on the ground.
To boost their moral, the trainer shouts ;” Are you tired?”
BIR Commandos respond , “Never ”
Trainer ; “Relax Relax Relax ”
Then he leads them to sing,
“Clap your hands, sing and take off the stress, all will be well”.
While the training is ongoing, a team of medical doctors are on standby at the Health Unit, waiting to attend to Commandos involved in accidents or who suddenly get into a crisis.
At the end of such a hectic day, the Commandos sleep on personalized Indian Bamboo tents of about 1.2m in rain or sunshine; the tents they made with their own hands.
On Fridays, they will be subjected to cold meal feeding for the entire day.
The training will last for 10months, but some will not survive it.
Lt Col. Danzabe Rene, the Commander of the BIR Training Centre, explains that five out of 1000 BIR commandos die yearly as a result of an accident during a rigorous exercise or ill health.
“Some of those who died had a bad fall from a helicopter during an exercise .Others die because their bodies can’t withstand these rigorous exercises, their bones are already too strong. These are people who reduced their ages to be recruited into the BIR. The cut off age for recruitment is maximum 22”.
This is what life at the BIR Training Centre looks like.
Kathy Neba Sina