Nigeria’s Airforce has sent a contingent of 200 men and air assets to oust the Gambia’s defeated leader, President Yahya Jammeh, who is refusing to step down threatening regional peace and stability.
The contingent, led by Air Cdre Tajudeen Yusuf, was airlifted this morning from 117 Air Combat Training Group Kainji, 283 miles northwest of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
The Nigerian Air Force has deployed 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, said Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.
Senegal will be leading the mission to uphold the Gambia’s last month’s election and install opposition winner Adama Barrow.
“We are ready and are awaiting the deadline at midnight. If no political solution is found, we will step in,” Senegalese military spokesperson Abdou Ndiaye said.
Nigeria had put a contingency plan to deal with the possible impact on any Nigeria or Ecowas nationals residing in Gambia, according to Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
Large numbers of Gambians have fled their homes and soldiers from neighboring Senegal have begun moving towards the borders amid a deepening political crisis.
Yahya Jammeh, who lost a December 1 presidential vote to opposition leader Adama Barrow, is refusing to step down, despite international condemnation and a threat of a military intervention by West African countries to enforce his election defeat.