The Nigeria air force says it has deployed a standby force in Senegal to enforce the resolution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in The Gambia.
ECOWAS had resolved to take action against Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia if he refuses to leave office after losing an election to Adama Barrow in December last year.
The air force announced on Wednesday that it had deployed 200 men and fighter jets in Senegal to “forestall hostilities and breakdown of law and order” in The Gambia, a neighbouring state.
“The Nigerian air force (NAF) has deployed to Senegal as part of Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of the West African States military intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG) – a standby force tasked by ECOWAS heads of state to enforce the December 1, 2016, election mandate in The Gambia,” it said in a statement issued by Ayodele Famuyiwa, its spokesman.
“The NAF 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 deployment is also to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia.
“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 Tajudeen Yusuf, an air commodore, was airlifted this morning from 117 Air Combat Training Group Kainji. Other troop-contributing countries include Senegal, Ghana and countries within the sub-region.