DEFENDING OUR NATION ISLAND
The Republic of Seychelles was, first, a French Colony and then a British Colony until 29 June 1976, when the Union Jack was lowered and we became a proud and independent nation.
In the years since independence, the nation has made sustained progress to fulfil its internal and regional requirements as a small island nation state. The SPDF, which dates from 5 June 1977, has been a part of the development ever since.
The rationale for our own Defence Force has been like that of any other nation. It encompasses the defence of the nation against external aggression; control of any internal disorders in support of the civil authorities;
territorial integrity; security of the Exclusive Economic Zone and important installations; as well as any other tasks, as specified from time to time. To fulfil the constitutionally enshrined tasks of the Republic, the SPDF is organised into units with specific mandates and equipped accordingly. The SPDF comprises Special Forces Unit, Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG), Seychelles Air Force (SAF), Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Military Police (MP), Seychelles Dog Unit (SDU) and the National Brass Band – all under the control of the Defence Forces Head Quarters (DFHQ). This is all governed by the Defence Forces Council under the able stewardship of the Commander-in- Chief (C-in-C), who is the President of the Republic of Seychelles.
A challenge came in November 1981, when a group of mercenaries arrived on a flight from South Africa, with the aim of taking over the country. Fortunately, they were quickly identified and the SPDF overpowered the invaders. There were further attempts, but it only strengthened the resolve of the Defence Forces to maintain the nation’s integrity. Training was intensified, exacting working hours and the demands of the task ensured minimum leave of absence.
Owing to these difficult times, the SPDF was shaped into a professionally effective outfit, capable of taking on all tasks. women were inducted into the Force in 1979. During the same year, training was in
troduced in Point Larue Camp, and in 1984 a literacy programme was initiated in all units. The SDA was inaugurated in 1990 after persistent and tireless efforts of the pioneers. In 1994 the SPDF was overhauled to include the SCG and a small air component. Further changes, in keeping with the changingtimeswere initiated in 2004, with the raising of the Special Forces Unit. A reorganisation was carried out in 2006-07 and gradual improvements have been introduced ever since.