Nigerian warship, troops head for Gambia to sack Jammeh

West African leaders set four-day deadline to resolve Gambia crisis

Nigeria soldiers will are expected to arrive at a base of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops in Senegal today to ensure that President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia steps down on Thursday, January 19.

Nigerian warship, NNS UNITY, is also heading for the coast of The Gambia to join the operation.

The troops are expected to be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in the early hours of Wednesday, before leaving for Senegal.

It was gathered that apart from the NAF and the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army would also contribute troops, although the number of deployment could not yet be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.

A source said some of the NAF fighter jets were expected to airlift the troops.

“The NNS Unity is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana, after leaving from Lagos. It is not only Nigeria. Senegal is the host country for the troops, as it would be easy to launch an attack from there,” a Naval source said.

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, however, said it could not confirm the deployments, adding that it was a matter being coordinated by political leaders.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said, “We should not drag the Nigerian military into a political issue. What is happening is a political discussion between the ECOWAS leaders, aimed at solving a political impasse in one of its member states.

“Whatever they agreed to do is what will happen. Therefore, the military is not for any engagement regarding Jammeh or any other person for that matter.”

Adama Barrow of the opposition party won the December 1, 2016, presidential election but Jammeh, who initially conceded defeat by congratulating Barrow, made a U-turn a week later, saying he would challenge the results. 

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