Spearfish Implement Induction training in Sokoto, Nigeria

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An Induction/Orientation indoor training anchored by SSO Sokoto. The training was more of discussion with just about 12 staff in attendance.

Where the Spearfish West Africa Security Risk Management Team was introduced to staff and how far we intend to go in managing/mitigating the risk associated with the context they work in. At present, Sokoto is bedeviled with threats of armed banditry, abduction/kidnap, herdsmen attack etc.

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NAIROBI HEAT COURSE - 23rd -25th July, 2019







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Spearfish West Africa leads on essential Security Awareness Training travelling to clients in the field

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We offer Security Awareness Training across the globe as well as UK. Our team of experienced trainers and Regional Security Advisors come to your offices and depending on your requirements can spend 1/2 day or a full day with your team.

Yesterday, Neal Peckham, our Nigeria Security Manager, took one of Nigeria based clients through the Bi-Annual Security Awareness Training session.

The purpose of this training is to educate staff on the current security situation in their environment, to refresh their memories on personal security awareness and equip them to develop new techniques and methods that are essential when facing possible security issues both during and after working hours.

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This refresher training is part our clients security management strategy in meeting Duty of Care obligations to its staff whilst coincidentally evidencing commitment to safety and security to their respective clients.

As a result of this training, staff should be better equipped to identify indicators to potential threats in their work and home environments, to quickly assess clear and present threats and to respond appropriately.

Other topics addressed included health and safety management in the office environment, fire prevention and response drills and information on defensive driving.

Armed Opposition Group Attacks - Borno State, Nigeria


The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter of Boko Haram (BH), is growing in power and influence. In December 2018, ISWAP overran a major military base in Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad, which the Nigerian army had previously recaptured in February 2015. Although on 21 February 2019 the Multi-National Joint Task Force[i][1] (MNJTF) launched Operation ‘Yancin Tafki’, aimed at “making islands and other settlements in Lake Chad untenable for Boko Haram Terrorists”, there is no evidence that forces have since retaken Baga. It is therefore a reasonable assumption that Baga is, for now, the de facto ‘capital of the caliphate’ from which ISWAP is mounting its operations.

From its territorial base of Lake Chad, ISWAP is waging a guerrilla war across north-eastern Nigeria, southern Niger and elsewhere on the lake’s periphery. By filling gaps in governance and service delivery, it has cultivated support among local civilians and has turned neglected communities into a source of economic support.

ISWAP’s approach also appears to have paid dividends in terms of recruitment and support and is currently estimated to have 3,500-5,000 members. In contrast, BH is estimated to have roughly 1,500-2,000 fighters.

During the past eight weeks there has been a significant increase in ISWAP’s operational tempo in Borno State. This chimes with an uptick in rhetoric from ISIS regarding the establishment of a caliphate on the African continent, a thematic trail uniting the insurgent campaigns in Mali, Burkina Faso and NE Nigeria, and early indications of new ISIS campaigns beginning in eastern DRC and Mozambique.

On 26 April there was a significant attack in southern Borno in which a military Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Mararaba Kimba (31 km NE of Biu) was overrun by a large insurgent force. The security forces had to withdraw in the face of overwhelming opposition, losing both manpower and equipment in the process.


ISWAP earlier this year in Borno

ISWAP earlier this year in Borno

The scale, tempo and possibly the geographical range of ISWAP operations will continue to grow as they recruit (both seasoned fighters[2] and local recruits) and increase their military inventory at the security forces’ expense.  Although Nigerian and MNJTF forces look to be well resourced with both weapon systems and logistical support, they appear unable to withstand the ferocity of ISWAP assaults.

Despite total air superiority, security forces appear unable to dominate the hinterland between their bases, giving ISWAP almost complete freedom of manoeuvre between and around the FOBs.

In southern Borno, the fact that attacks on Mararaba Kimba and Delwa were highly mobile, attackers were reportedly using at least 15 gun trucks, and that their successes were subsequently reported on the Amaq news site[3], all lend credence to there being an ISWAP combat team operating south of the Damaturu-Maiduguri road.  Use of multi-media platforms continues to be a key part of the campaign strategy for both sides in efforts to influence a broad range of stakeholders. At this moment, ISIS messaging appears to have the lead over the Nigerian Government and the military.


  • Ensure compliance with your organisation’s journey management procedures.

  • Seek the latest situation report from local contacts immediately prior to travel.

  • Remain alert to and report any changes in the local security environment.

  • Carry identification documents at all time.

  • Cooperate with security forces if you encounter them.


  • Access into Borno State will remain extremely limited whilst the risk level remains EXTREME.

  • Access along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road will be disrupted when military ‘cordon and search’ operations are under way. Use of the road will be constantly reviewed against the risk of BH attacks in the vicinity of the route.

  • Operational delivery in Yobe State may be disrupted, with security related constraints applied by the SRMT in response to Boko Haram activity in specific border LGAs.


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During May ISWAP conducted significant attacks against security force FOBs in Magumeri (3 May), Ganjigana (10 May) and Gubio (20 May), all located between 40 and 80kms from, and generally North West of Maiduguri. In each case the bases were overrun, ISWAP took what stores, ammunition and equipment they found useful and destroyed the rest.

To the south of Maiduguri, ISWAP reported killing 15 troops in an ambush on a convoy near Sabon Gari (35km NE of Biu) and supported the news on Amaq with photographic evidence. Despite this, the Army denied the incident, branding it fake news.



At the beginning of June ISWAP conducted multiple attacks on military FOBs. On 1 June, Dalwa, 25km south of Maiduguri, was attacked and overrun, with the subsequent loss of military manpower, supplies, ammunition and equipment.  Reportedly, the assault was launched from Alagarno forest in Damboa LGA using four Armoured Personnel Carriers and 12 x gun trucks.

Having overrun the base, the insurgents reportedly destroyed a T55 tank and commandeered 2 x gun trucks, a troop-carrying lorry, one armoured personnel carrier, a mortar and a large quantity of ammunition. The Army reoccupied the base with reinforcements from Maiduguri after ISWAP had left.

In what appeared to be a concurrently timed attack on the evening of Saturday 1 June, ISWAP launched an attack against security forces in Dikwa, 83km East North East of Maiduguri. Although this attack was unsuccessful in dislodging the military, subsequent attacks against Marte and Kirenowa, north of Dikwa, both succeeded in overrunning the FOBs. ISWAP subsequently claimed fourteen Nigerian soldiers killed, six vehicles and four armoured vehicles destroyed and two vehicles captured. Although there is no clarification from military sources, it is reported that escaping troops made their way from Marte to Dikwa, whilst large numbers of displaced civilians also fled to Maiduguri.

On 12 June ISWAP attacked a military FOB in Kareto in the North Western part of Borno. only 16km from the border with Yobe State. In a statement published in Amaq, ISWAP claimed 20 soldiers, including the commanding officer, were killed and a tank and a Shilka ZSU-23-4[4] were destroyed. ISWAP also stated they captured 7 4x4 vehicles and burned the base, then "withdrew safely".

Despite the presence of an ISWAP force in that area being freely reported by various media sources, it appears that the security forces were unable to mount an effective military response as ISWAP then went on to attack Damasak, 22km North of Kareto, on 15 June.

Although BH remained relatively inactive over the reporting period, on 16 June they demonstrated their continuing capability to mount an attack by sending in three suicide bombers to the village of Mandarari, near Konduga. This attack targeted a sports venue and associated catering stalls, reportedly killing at least 30 and injuring more than 40 civilians.


[1] The MNJTF comprises troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

[2] There is evidence that ISIS fighters have joined up with ISWAP having migrated from failed ISIS campaigns in the Middle East.

[3] Amaq is reportedly the ISIS official new outlet

[4] The ZSU-23-4 is a Russian made tracked anti-aircraft platform.



The Charity Commission’s (CC) inquiry into Oxfam GB was published on 10 June 2019, and having analysed the report, whilst many of our clients are not in the charitable sector, many of the findings have common read across to international development sector companies given their activities.  The CC described Oxfam as “operating internationally, across multiple legal jurisdictions and cultural contexts and in the midst of humanitarian crisis”, and the same descriptions can be applied to most businesses in our sector.  This will no doubt give clear implications as to how the development sector should conduct itself.  The wider points from the inquiry are as follows:


• Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities.

• Protecting people from harm is not an overhead to be minimised.

• Failure to take reasonable steps to protect people cannot be excused by the difficult context a charity is working in, nor can incidents of harm be justified in relation to the importance of the cause.

• An effective culture of keeping people safe identifies, deters and tackles behaviours which minimise or ignore harm to people.


By embracing a comprehensive security risk management program, you can clearly demonstrate you are more than ready to fulfil the expectations set out in the above report, that will no doubt be cascaded down from the foreign aid donor community to their suppliers in the coming months.


To read a copy of the full report, click here.


Dan Hooton

Managing Director

Spearfish Security

+44 7976 438042/+441962 869813/danhooton@spear-fish.com


Spearfish HEAT Courses Summer 2019

This summer we have HEAT courses taking place in the UK, US, Nigeria and Kenya. Our courses are about empowering the individual. Our classes are built around the students requirements and experiences. We all react differently under pressure or even just out of our comfort zone, we teach you how to best used that reaction to help yourself and those around you.

For more information contact us at mail@spear-fish.com

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Spearfish Friday Field Notes: Indian General Election May 2019

Following the BJP party’s ‘landslide’ victory in India’s general election, emotions are likely to be heightened in the immediate term. Spearfish advise the following basic risk management steps:

  • Consider where you discuss your political views in public. If amongst strangers, this could cause arguments or unwanted attention

• Be mindful that celebrations, or even protests, are possible in the immediate term. It is advisable to avoid crowds

• Closely monitor local media sources for any further developments

Boat show beginnings - 10 YEARS OF SPEARFISH

Spearfish Founding team in 2010, Quentin Brook, Grant White & Dan Hooton

Spearfish Founding team in 2010, Quentin Brook, Grant White & Dan Hooton

Spearfish started business in April 2009, initially specialising in maritime security with a particular focus on super yachts. But the days of attending the Monaco Yacht Show are all but over for the company and today its maritime work consists of onboard training courses, and surveys and hardening plans for specialist units in high risk areas.  Spearfish is also involved in other nautical work such as marine investigations and providing expert witness services to past hijacks.

From its modest beginnings, Spearfish has grown consistently and now conducts the majority of its work outside the maritime sector. The company’s team now stands at over 30 people across the globe, from Environment Awareness Trainers to Regional Security Advisors, primarily delivering risk advisory and consultancy services to businesses operating in high risk environments.

Spearfish UK 2019 Team

Spearfish UK 2019 Team

Spearfish West Africa 2019 Team

Spearfish West Africa 2019 Team

In the last year a subsidiary, Spearfish West Africa, has opened in Abuja, Nigeria, with a team of 10 while a Spearfish South Asia office in New Delhi, India is set to open in the near future. The company aims to expand its global footprint further with other partnerships and subsidiaries.

 At the UK head office in Winchester, Hampshire, the team continues to develop, exploring new ways to support clients efficiently while ensuring their duty of care to them remains a top priority. Global Analyst, Andy Munro, has been developing the company’s Overwatch platform, while Mat Schraeder, Head of Training and Partnerships, has rebuilt the Spearfish training program over the past 6 months, making it more flexible and easier to tailor to clients’ needs. Lisa Ifould, Finance Manager, will gain her ACCA accountancy qualifications in the near term while Senior Security Advisor, Darren Kelly, has been increasing company relationships with project managers and client teams, both overseas and in the UK.

The Board of Directors remains a huge asset for Spearfish, with Chairman Lord West of Spithead, and Non-Executive Directors John Smith and Grant White supporting the company’s ongoing growth and development.

Dan Hooton, Spearfish Managing Director Speaks at ADMEI Emergency Preparedness Conference in Frankfurt


This week Dan Hooton, Our MD was invited by ADMEI to lead a 1 Day Course on Emergency Preparedness Certificate Program, with guest speaker Adrain Powell, Solicitor/Partner with Proelium Law, will discuss Liability and Duty of Care.   This course was followed by IIMEX, The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel meetings and events.

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The Emergency Preparedness Certificate Program (EPCP) is developed by ADMEI in collaboration with global leaders in security, intelligence, training, and investigative services .

The one day course covered many facets of emergency preparedness including:

  • Emergency Planning Mission with a focus on prevention, mitigation, and recovery

  • Basics of Emergency Operations Planning

  • Comprehensive, team approach to assist in building or revising an Emergency Operations Plan

  • Extensive scenarios to explore emergency situations and appropriate responses

  • Liability and Risk Management issues that can occur

  • Additional planning considerations and risk assessments tools

  • Current events and trends impacting the event and travel industry

Throughout the course, attendees participate in group exercises encouraging problem-solving from different industry perspectives.  In addition, attendees receive a variety of tools/handouts to customise for their use.

This course, focused on global strategies, is designed to develop emergency & risk management specialists within your company.

International airlines are transitioning operations to the new international terminal at Abuja airport.


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All international airlines except British Airways and Air France have moved their operations. The move date for BA and Air France is yet TBC as they reportedly have some operational/security concerns regarding the new terminal. The old terminal arrival and departure procedures remain extant for BA and Air France until further notice.

 Arriving passengers into the new terminal need to follow signs to ‘Domestic Departures’ once they leave the arrivals hall. This will bring them outside the building where they should then find their ‘meet & greet’ drivers (see diagram below) For the time being and until the car park and airport rail terminal developments have been completed, this exit point is also the entry point for passengers departing via the new terminal.

Spearfish & the Carta Rallye 2019

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Spearfish provided support & logistics to the Future Terrain Team across the desert

Spearfish have just successfully completed a job in the deserts of Morocco with a new client. Our motto: “Operating in an uncertain world” was really rather on point during the Morocco job, considering the frequent sandstorms, vast openness and general terrain of the desert.


Dacia UK looked to Spearfish to support their journey to the far eastern edges of Morocco to watch a charity for injured/disabled veterans and ex-servicemen they sponsor called Future Terrain participate in a desert rally race not unlike the famous Dakar rally races.

The support we provided focused on facilitating our clients need to achieve their objective of following the rally race participants with the least number of disruptions & obstacles possible.


In addition to the Dacia UK team, we supported a camera crew & journalists from Auto Car magazine as they filmed, photographed and wrote about the race. This meant driving the majority of the actual rally stages to “get the shot”.

While Morocco is relatively easy & safe to travel in and through, it can still pose threats and risks, however there are very real and distinct challenges to the region that can certainly have a significant influence on travels. Not least being the terrain and vast distances to cross.


We covered roughly 2,500kms across all manner of terrain, travelling from Marrakech over the high Atlas Mountains through Ouarzazate to Boudenib, Merzouga, M’Hamid and a number of points in between and back and forth to Marrakech a couple of times.

The Spearfish team managed & organised, drivers, hire cars, lodging and all other ancillary requests to providing a smooth as possible journey for our clients.

The end result being very positive feedback from the client Dacia UK, as well as Carta Rallye race organisers, the Future Terrain team and a desire within Spearfish to consider expanding our operations into more ventures like this.


2019 Carta Rallye

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Life on the Desert Road with Dacia and Future Terrain

By Mat Shcraeder, Head of Partnerships and Training

01 April 2019

I arrived in Marrakech last Thursday the 28th of March just a day ahead of the arrival of our latest client, representatives from a large automotive manufacturer and three journalists who were travelling to Morocco to witness the culmination of months of work and collaboration with the UK based charity Future Terrain, participate in the Carta Rallye, an event not dissimilar to the world-famous Dakar Rally.

Future Terrain is a charity that works with and supports ex-servicemen, many of them dealing with the traumatic effects from their service. Spearfish Security is also a supporting and sponsoring partner to Future Terrain.

Prior to leaving Winchester, the Spearfish team prepared for the tasking. Building a country-wide Security Risk Assessment, Route Planning, safe-havens identification, emergency contact numbers, contingency planning to manage unexpected events.


We secured & confirmed essential kit and equipment required for the task from satellite trackers and phones, camp cots and sun protection and any other logistics and administrative details to facilitate a smooth as possible trip for our client.

Once the client team and journalists arrived at the airport the following day, a two-day road-move to the Rallye start point over the high Atlas Mountains to the edge of the Sahara Desert began.

Arriving in Boudenib we met up with the Future Terrain team who had driven all the way from the UK to Morocco over 5 days.

Over the course of the week I escorted the client team and accompanying journalists across the Moroccan Desert as we followed the Future Terrain as they competed in the Carta Rallye. All the while, the Winchester office were tracking our movements and keeping me updated and informed with changes to the evolving security situation in the country.

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03 April 2019

I’ve just returned from a 2 and half day round trip to Marrakech where I’ve delivered our client team and two of the journalists for their return trip home and am now back in the far east of Marrakech near Merzouga continuing to support the remaining journalist and an additional photographer as the Carta Rallye progresses.

It’s itinerary which includes changing bivouac sites every other day, resulting in driving more than 7 hours of driving time as they navigate their way through the Sahara Desert to their next staging site.


Spearfish's Global Security Analyst Visit's Beirut


I’m writing above the cacophony of the busy roads, enjoying the hotel’s panoramic view of Beirut’s sprawling, and rapidly expanding, skyscape.

The week has been busy, meeting with two client projects at opposite ends of the city. Country visits are crucial, allowing a personal understanding of the issues that local staff face and first-hand analysis of the security situation.

It quickly became apparent that, although the situation at the time of visiting was largely calm, albeit potentially disturbed by the arrival of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the final day, civil unrest can erupt rapidly. Its under such scenarios that a need for robust contingency plans, covering everything from a medical emergency, to a full evacuation out of country, was reinforced. Only in 2006, military action by Israel led to thousands of international visitors being evacuated by various embassies out of Beirut. Aside from the looming prospect of civil unrest, Beirut as a whole has been extremely welcoming, with vibrant nightlight and excellent food. I experienced the ruthless competition between falafel shops; each claiming to be the city’s best, while enjoying the convenience of coffee shops which remain open until the early hours. I’ll be sad to leave.

Global Security Advisor visits East Africa team

A busy few days visiting our client's key locations in East Africa. The focus this trip was Kenya, Mozambique and Ethiopia where the tempo of projects and also associated risks are picking up. As well as assessing the overall security situation and travel risks we also made time to review current procedures, office and accommodation location security.

Through our Regional Security Advisor network and the project teams on the ground I was able to meet more great contacts who will be on hand to assist us in further extending our security network and aiding our clients. Overall, a very busy and successful trip fuelled in part with great coffee which the office is now enjoying. At the current rate of consumption it won't be long until I'll be required to travel again.

Another week of HEAT courses

Last week saw a Spearfish successfully running HEAT courses in the UK and and in the US . Our Head of Training ran our course in Hampshire with our newest member of the team Lorraine . Over in Washington DC we had Cath running a course of 13 in our onsite training venue which is based just over an hour outside of the capital.

This month saw the launch of our new timetable. At spearfish we understand how important it is to keep modifying and updating our course material to suit the needs of people operating in high risk areas. We also had film crew down with us at our training site in the UK which we look forward to sharing with you soon.

In the next couple of weeks we will be concentrating our HEAT courses in Abuja and , pending election outcome, Bauchi. Our Spearfish West Africa team are putting these courses together , we will be using both our international training team as well as our in country training team to take on these upcoming courses.

If you would like to know about our upcoming courses or if you would like discuss a bespoke course for your in country projects please contact us at mail@spear-fish.com