Nigerian newspapers are reporting that its special forces have forgone Christmas feast with their family for deployment to Senegal as a standby force to oust President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia if he refuses to leave at the end of his term.
Gambia’s Jammeh refuses to leave power after losing elections to businessman Adama Barrow. West African leaders are mediating for Jammeh to exit peacefully but may use force if the effort fails.
Nigerian troops will be joining other West African forces in an intervention to led by Senegal to enforce the outcome of the polls. ECOWAS has received widespread support from the international community, including the African Union and the United Nations.
Nigerian air and ground forces were deployed to Mali and a 600 strong ECOWAS intervention troop in Guinea-Bissau are expected to leave next year.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh says he would not be “intimidated or blackmailed” to leave power. West African leaders pledged to attend the inauguration of Mr. Barrow on January 19 and Jammeh says no inauguration will be held until the country’s Supreme Court makes a decision on a petition the ruling APRC party filed.