The Nigerian Air force on Wednesday airlifted a contingent of 200 combat troops and assorted aircraft to Senegal following the refusal of President Yahya Jammeh to relinquish office after his mandate expired at midnight.
The deployment is an effort to ensure that Jammeh hands over power to the winner of December 1 presidential election, Adama Barrow.
Nigeria is part of the ECOWAS bloc, which has threatened Jammeh with sanctions or military intervention if he does not step down.
I want you to leave nobody in doubt that you are professionals. I want you to also leave nobody in doubt that you are a highly disciplined force.
Their departure comes a day after the naval ship NNS unity left the shores of Nigeria for the Gambia.
Nigeria chief of Air Staff, Air Mashal, Sadiq Abubakar whike speaking with the troop before their departure told them to be of good behaviour and observe safety measures during the operation.
“I want you to leave nobody in doubt that you are professionals. I want you to also leave nobody in doubt that you are a highly disciplined force. Your mission is very clear, your commander is with you. What we want is for you to get there,” he said.
The 200-man contingent include 20 air crew and 80 combat support team for the first batch of the Nigerian Air contingent in the yet to be named operation.
Meanwhile Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo has also announced he is sending 205 soldiers to The Gambia as part of a regional force to enforce the result of the country’s disputed election.
Akufo-Addo in a statement said he had approved and authorised the deployment of a combat team of 205 troops, backed with the appropriate logistic equipment.