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US Marine quick reaction force deployed twice in last 30 days

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 8/1/2021 Natasha Anderson For Dailymail.Com
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The U.S. Marine Corps deployed its Security Augmentation Unit (MSAU) twice in the past 30 days to help defend embassies in Africa and the Caribbean.  

A team was sent to Haiti on July 16 in wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Fox News reported. This mission was said to be 'out of an abundance of caution'.

Moïse was gunned down in his home in Port-au-Prince before dawn on July 7, setting off a new political crisis in the Caribbean country that has struggled with poverty, lawlessness and instability. 

The deployment came just weeks after thirteen Marines were positioned in Eswatini, located in the southwestern portion of Africa, following an outbreak of civil unrest.  

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The interim Haitian government requested members of the United Nations, including the U.S., to deploy troops to help protect the country's infrastructure following the assassination. 

According to the Marine Corps Times, President Joe Biden was 'not open to the request'.

'We're only sending American Marines to our embassy,' Biden said. 'The idea of sending American forces to Haiti is not on the agenda.'  

Protests by angry Moïse supporters have turned violent in the slain leader's hometown of Cap-Haitien. Gunshots rang out while demonstrators blocked roads, demanded justice and threatened to disrupt his funeral.

Haitian police said Friday that a total of 27 people, including four officers, have been arrested in Moïse's killing. Others are still being sought in connection with attack. 

Another nine officers were being held in isolation for questioning, apparently among a total of 44 people held to determine what responsibility they may have had in the killing or to determine if they were negligent in their duties. 

Police say eighteen of those formally arrested are former Colombian soldiers. Police are still looking for various suspects, including a former rebel leader and an ex-Haitian senator. 

Officials say it remains unclear who organized and financed the assassination. 

Biden has stated he does not anticipate a broader deployment of American troops to Haiti. 

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MSAU deployment to Haiti came just 17 days after a team was sent to Eswatini, Africa's last absolute monarchy, following an outbreak of violent demonstrations in the kingdom last month.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets to publicly denounce the monarch's leader, King Mswati III, who allegedly lives in luxury while his citizens starve.

Civil society and opposition groups led demonstrations in the nation's capital cities of Manzini and Mbabane, looting shops and ransacking properties, some of which belonged to the king.

At least 27 people died as police clashed with protesters in some of the worst unrest in the country's history. 

Activists said police opened fire on a crowd Manzini, injuring at least two people and arresting 15 others. 

King Mswati III appointed a new prime minister just over a week ago, reportedly ignoring calls for democratic reforms.  

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The MSAU, a quick reaction force comprised of 145 Marines, was founded in 2013. The two most recent deployments mark the force's 106th and 107th missions. 

According to the Marine Corps, the MSAU is in 'a high state of readiness and can rapidly respond when called upon'.

The team's primary mission is to provide specially trained augmentation security forces to designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities overseas. 

MSAU Marines are trained in medical, close quarters battle, marksmanship, as well as security analysis and augmentation to existing security at various diplomatic facilities.

'Marines assigned to duty at MSAU are screened by Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Headquarters for performance, decision making, and leadership and tactical skills,' Capt. Andrew Wood, a Marine spokesman, told Fox News. 'Once assigned to the unit, the MSAU staff assess each Marine's ability and provide advanced training in MSG and Diplomatic Security skills.' 

The MSAU was founded after the 2012 attack on Benghazi, a city in Libya, left a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans dead.

New corps members undergo training at the Marine Security Guard School in Quantico for six weeks and then serve at an overseas post before they can be recommended by a region commander to join the MSAU.  

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