Wednesday, January 18, 2017 10:26 pm
As the deadline given to Yahya Jammeh to hand over power to the elected president of Gambia ends at midnight the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed a contingent to Senegal.
This is part of Nigeria’s contribution to the Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG) as agreed by ECOWAS leaders.
President Jammeh had said that he would not quit office following his defeat in the Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election which was won by the opposition candidate Adam Barrow.
Entreaties by an ECOWAS Mediation Committee, chaired by President Muhammad Buhari were rebuffed by Jammeh.
On Tuesday he declared a 90-day state of emergency and deployed military on the streets of Banjul, the country’s capital.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, said on Wednesday in a statement that a standby force was tasked by ECOWAS Heads of State to enforce the Dec. 1, 2016 election mandate in the Gambia.
Famuyiwa said NAF has 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 was expected to operate 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 Gambia,” he said.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) , Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar while addressing the troops before departure, urged them to maintain discipline and be professional in their conduct.
Sadique also reminded them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, as no act of indiscipline by the contingent would be tolerated.
The contingent is being led by Air Cdr. Tajudeen Yusuf.
He also said that other troop contributing countries include: Senegal, Ghana and countries within the sub-region. (NAN)