Nigeria’s military has raised a battalion of more than 800 troops for deployment to The Gambia anytime after January 19 if President Yahya Jammeh refuses to leave.
The battalion is named ECOMOG NIBATT 1, was drawn from the army’s 19th Battalion based in Okitipupa, Ondo State, military insiders told Nigeria’s Premium Times.
The troops have already reported to the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, for a crashed course on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.
“This is an emergency operation, but we are ready,” a source told Premium Times. “The Nigerian Army is a strong, professional fighting force battle ready at any time. We are so well structured that we can deploy at the touch of a button.”
West African leaders have put off deploying the authorized standby force in a last minute diplomatic attempt for Jammeh to hand over peacefully. Gambia’s neighbor Senegal will be leading the ECOWAS force.
Information Minister Seedy Njie said Wednesday that President Yahya Jammeh, who lost last month’s election to Adama Barrow, will not be stepping down until the Supreme Court hears the longtime rulers petition and make a ruling on it.