The Nigerian army has sent about 200 soldiers to join a coalition army to oust President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia.
Nigeria has sent 200 soldiers and air assets including fighter jets to Senegal as part of a regional force to enforce the result of Gambia’s contested election, the country’s air force said Wednesday.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it had “today moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, light utility helicopter as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Dakar from where it is expected to operate into Gambia”.
The Economic Community Of West African States has repeatedly called on leader Yahya Jammeh to respect the result of the December 1 election and step down after 22 years in power.
Jammeh on Tuesday declared a state of emergency as President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, maintained his inauguration will go ahead as planned on Thursday on Gambian soil.
Nigeria said the forces were part of an ECOWAS military standby intervention force “tasked by ECOWAS heads of state to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate in The Gambia”.
“The deployment is also to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia,” it added in a statement.
Read the full statement by the Nigerian Air Force spokesperson below.
Addressing the contingent before departure, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar urged the troops to maintain discipline and be professional in their conduct. Reminding them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, the CAS stated that no act of indiscipline by the contingent would be tolerated. The contingent, led by Air Cdre Tajudeen Yusuf, was airlifted this morning from 117 Air Combat Training Group Kainji. Other troop contributing countries include Senegal, Ghana and countries within the sub-region.
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