Republic of Seychelles
Seychelles is a small nation consisting of 115 islands lying approximately 1500 miles off the East Coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is believed to have the smallest population of any African nation. Archaeological evidence points to the likelihood that the islands remained largely uninhabited until approximately the 12th century CE, when seafarers from nearby Maldives are believed to have visited. Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama recorded a sighting of the islands in 1502 and is reputed to have named one of the island groupings Amirantes, after himself (islands of the Admiral). The islands were later claimed by France in 1756, and it is after Louis XV's Minister of Finance, Jean Moreau de Séchelles, that the nation was named. Great Britain, however, contested control of the islands during the Napoleanic Wars, eventually assuming full control in 1810, along with that of neighboring Mauritius. These two island nations would remain under joint administration until 1910, when Seychelles became a separate crown colony. Full independence as a Commonwealth nation was granted in 1976; however, the first president James Mancham was ousted just one year later by a military coup d'état and replaced by France-Albert René, who retained control of a one-party socialist government until 2004.
The nation made international news in 1981 after security forces put down an attempted coup d'état led by Thomas Michael "Mad Mike" Hoare, who had gained fame twenty years previously as commander of 4 Commando in Katanga and later of 5 Commando (the Wild Geese)in the Congo. Reputedly sponsored by the government of South Africa, Hoare arrived in country with 53 additional mercenaries posing as tourists and claiming membership in the defunct British charitable organization, Ancient Order of Froth Blowers. Owing to several mishaps, however, the operation failed miserably.
The armed forces of Seychelles are called the Seychelles People's Defence Force, and consist of and Infantry Unit, Coast Guard, Air Force and a Presidential Protection Unit.
Camouflage Worn in Seychelles
- The standard camouflage pattern worn by operational personnel of the SPDF for many years has been variations of the British DPM pattern, such as those seen here. The pattern continues in use today.
- The Tazar Special Forces unit is a special task force of highly trained personnel specifically tasked with anti-piracy duties. Although historically the unit wore the same uniform as the rest of the SPDF, in 2013 photos emerged showing personnel wearing uniforms in Multicam pattern.