By Mohammad Tijjani
The Nigerian army is about to deploy 197 soldiers for the ECOWAS peacekeeping mission in The Gambia.
Chief of Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General. Olufemi Akinjobi, revealed it Thursday during the graduation ceremony of the Nigerian company 7 which will soon take over the management of the small West African state.
The ceremony took place at the Martin Luther Agwai International Peacekeeping and Leadership Center in Jaji, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria previously deployed six separate companies in The Gambia.
Akinjobi said Nigeria is committed to deploying quality peacekeepers for global peace and security.
NAN reports that out of 197 people going to The Gambia, 185 are soldiers and 12 officers.
Akinjobi was represented by Major-General. Zakari Abubakar, Director, Peace Operations, Army Headquarters.
He explained that Nigeria had successfully participated in 40 peacekeeping missions around the world and deployed more than 100,000 peacekeepers since 1960.
He maintained that the ECOWAS mission in The Gambia was created as an intervention mission to resolve the constitutional crisis that followed the disputed presidential election of 2016.
The mission, he said, has helped restore peace and stability.
Previously, Center Commander, Maj.-Gen. Auwal Fagge said the center had, over the past four weeks, refreshed troops on some tactical aspects of peacekeeping training.
Aspects, he said, included base camp security, patrols, cordon and search, and VIP escort, among others.
He urged the troops to be good ambassadors for Nigeria and to put into practice what they have learned.
He called on them to fulfill the mandate of the mission and strictly abide by the rules of engagement.
Fagge also instructed the troops to carry out their duties keeping in mind the multinational nature of the mission as well as the cultural and religious diversities in the operating environment.
NAN recalls that on April 21, the center also deployed 173 soldiers to Guinea Bissau for a peacekeeping mission. (NOPE)