The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed Troops to Senegal as part of Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG).
A statement issued on Wednesday said the operation is a standby force tasked by ECOWAS Heads of State to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate in The Gambia. Despite losing the country’s Presidential election, President Yahya Jammeh has vowed to remain in office; a decision that has received widespread condemnation. Adama Barrow won the election in the country. He has since left Gambia to stay in Senegal for security reasons.
The AU and ECOWAS have said they will not recognize him as the President once his tenure elapses on the 19th of January.
“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,” the Air Force statement read.
“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”.
The National Assembly in Gambia has passed a motion that will see President Jammeh remain in office for three months from Wednesday.
This move comes barely 24 hours after the leader declared a 90-day state of emergency just a day before the inauguration of Adama Barrow as the new President.
Meanwhile, the political unrest in the country has seen some key members of Jammeh’s cabinet resign their positions as ministers of the state.
Despite Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power, neighboring countries like Morocco and Nigeria has offered him Asylum if he agrees to step down.