NIGERIAN Warship Sails To GAMBIA.
Nigeria’s latest warship, the NNS Unity, is sailing towards The Gambia ahead of possible military intervention over President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to accept election defeat and step down when his term expires on Thursday. A Nigerian military source tells the BBC that the patrol vessel is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana after leaving from the commercial caital, Lagos.
The warship which was constructed by the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited (CSOIL). The initial aim is to put on a show of force rather than to launch an attack. The ship is expected to play a vital role in helping a Senegal led force topple the Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh if he refuses to step down at the end of his term on January 18th.
Mr Jammeh, 51, who has governed the Gambia since July 1994 is refusing to relinquish power to opposition candidate Adama Barrow, the surprised winner of last month’s election.He has accused the country’s electoral commission of rigging the election in favour of the opposition. His attempt to overturn the election result at the Supreme Court has been delayed because of a shortage of judges as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries.
The regional group, Ecowas, which tried unsuccessfully to convince Mr Jammeh to handover power peacefully has warned of serious consequences if Mr Barrow’s is blocked on Thursday. Mr Barrow is currently in Senegal and is due back in Banjul for the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. And ahead of the ceremony, a Nigerian military source told the BBC Monitoring’s Africa security correspondent, Tomi Oladipo, that the warship has left the commercial capital, Lagos and is currently sailing off the coast of
Mr Jammeh has described any military intervention as an act of aggression and has vowed to defend the territorial sovereignty of the Gambia.