Buhari to send over 800 soldiers, warplanes to Gambia if Jammeh fails to step down

President Muhammadu Buhari has raised an army battalion that would be deployed in troubled Gambia to forcefully remove President Yahya Jammeh from power if he fails to step down on January 19, according to Premium Times.

However, it was reported that the Nigerian Battalion would be deployed in The Gambia any time after January 19 if President Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down after the expiration of his tenure.

According to the online platform, the battalion is christened ECOMOG NIBATT 1 and was drawn from the Army’s 19th Battalion based in Okitipupa, Ondo State.

It was learnt that the Army Headquarters has instructed the nominated officers and men, put at over 800, to immediately report at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, for a crashed course on counter terrorism and counter insurgency.

The Army Headquarters has reportedly instructed the Army directorates of policy and plans; finance; and logistics to ready funds, arms, ammunition and other logistics for the operation.

The Armoured Corps is also working hard to ready armoured vehicles needed for the task.

There were suggestions  that the Nigerian Air Force and the Navy might deploy men and equipment for the operation as well.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has said he will not step down before a Supreme Court decision on disputed elections, a ruling now not expected until May.

In a nationwide TV broadcast, the longstanding ruler also reiterated his concern at “foreign interference”.

Regional mediators, led by Nigeria’s president, are expected in The Gambia on Friday to urge him to accept defeat following December’s election.

President-elect Adama Barrow says he will be inaugurated next week.

Mr Jammeh, who initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll, lodged a case before the Supreme Court after the electoral commission changed some results. The president made his speech on Tuesday evening after it was announced that the Supreme Court hearing would be delayed until May because of a shortage of judges, who mostly come from neighbouring countries.

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