The Nigerian government has confirmed that it has deployed fighter jets and at least 200 soldiers to join their Senegalese counterparts for a Gambian mission.
The spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, Ayodele Famuyiwa, confirmed the deployment in a statement sent to the media.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed to Senegal as part of Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of 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 The Gambia,” Mr. Famuyiwa, a Group Captain, said.
“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.”
ECOWAS had indicated its intention to forcefully remove President Yahya Jammeh from office should he decide to remain in power beyond Thursday, January 19, the date he is constitutionally expected to handover to President-elect Adama Barrow.
Mr. Jammeh has remained defiant, saying he would not leave office until the Supreme Court hears his petition challenging Mr. Barrow’s widely acclaimed victory.
The Supreme Court has said it cannot hear the matter as it does not have the 5 judges required to form a quorum
Any ECOWAS military mission is expected to be led by Senegal, Gambia’s immediate neighbour, and the country to which the Nigerian troops arrived.(http://www.premiumtimesng.com)