News24

Nigeria to deploy troops to G-Bissau

2012-05-15 07:51

Abuja - West African regional powerhouse Nigeria said on Monday it will deploy troops to Guinea-Bissau this week to shore up security after a coup in the former Portuguese colony last month.

Nigeria remains "committed" to pledges to deploy troops to both Guinea-Bissau and Mali following coups in both countries, Nigerian Defence Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed said at a meeting of regional defence chiefs.

"Our troops are ready," he said.

"In Guinea-Bissau, we will deploy before the 18th of this month," Mohammed said, without specifying the size of the force being sent to the country after the government was overthrown on 12 April.

"In Mali, we await the signals from [regional grouping] Ecowas. We have all our forces and equipment ready for airlift," said Mohammed.

The closed-door meeting ended late Monday without a formal communiqué.

"It discussed details of the deployment of troops to Guinea Bissau. But higher Ecowas authorities will still have to give a go-ahead before the deployment can take place," an official with the Economic Community of West African States told AFP.

Transition government

"In the case of Mali, the defence chiefs said authorities in that country have to write Ecowas a formal letter to request for military assistance before troops can be deployed there," the official said on condition of anonymity.

West African leaders had said earlier this month at a meeting in Dakar that they would send regional troops immediately Bamako made a request.

Defence chiefs from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Liberia and Gambia attended the one-day meeting while other Ecowas member states sent representatives, officials said.

West African leaders decided at a summit in Abidjan on 26 April to deploy between 500 and 600 troops from at least four countries - Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast and Senegal - to Guinea-Bissau following the coup.

Guinea-Bissau coup leaders and west African mediators agreed last Friday that parliamentary speaker Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo will lead a transition government, ruling out the return of the ousted team.

Last month's summit also decided to deploy a regional force to Mali where a coup overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure on 22 March.

Mohammed said regional instability caused by internal conflicts in some member states was "a severe impediment to achieving the desired political and economic development in our sub-region".

Developments in Guinea-Bissau and Mali were cause for concern about the long-term survival of democracy in the region, Mohammed said.

The situation in Mali, especially a rebellion in the north and the emergence of several armed groups there, threatened to bring "grave danger to our sub-region," he warned.

Political chaos

"If not decisively tackled, the development is capable of destabilising the entire region."

Amid the political chaos in Bamako, the north of Mali remains in the grip of rebel groups such as Tuareg separatists and Islamists who seized the vast desert area in the coup aftermath.

Mali coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo agreed last month to a deal brokered by Ecowas that led to a new transitional government.

Although he has formally quit power, he remains an influential political force and has refused Ecowas demands for elections within 12 months.

In a separate statement, the Ecowas Commission voiced deep concern over "worrying statements and actions" by Mali's former junta in recent days.

It urged them to reaffirm their commitment to the transitional accord or face the "immediate reinstatement of targeted sanctions" imposed on 02 April but lifted four days later.

Comments
  • Jason - 2012-05-15 09:03

    like the blind leading the blind

      Gaby Ogaba - 2012-05-15 09:26

      well said brother comon bokoo they have failed or incompetent to tackle cos its not there relativess dying how can u leave ur house burning and u are fetchin water to quench another mans burnin house, there is only one reason for dat action which is noting but the loots to gain from the mans house if u succeed in puttin off the firee. nijja be wise and keep ur house in orrder first.

      Gaby Ogaba - 2012-05-15 09:26

      well said brother comon bokoo they have failed or incompetent to tackle cos its not there relativess dying how can u leave ur house burning and u are fetchin water to quench another mans burnin house, there is only one reason for dat action which is noting but the loots to gain from the mans house if u succeed in puttin off the firee. nijja be wise and keep ur house in orrder first.

  • Omo - 2012-05-15 13:11

    @Gaby Ogada, If the Nigerian armed forces wanted to deal with Boko haram ,it won't take them more than 48hrs to wipe out the sect.The reality of it is that the Nigerian armed forces has been infiltrated by members of boko haram so it will be very difficult for the army to fight itself.Do not also forget that members of the PDP have been linked to Boko haram itself.Boko haram is a scam being played on Nigerians by the rulling elite so there is absolutley nothing the armed forces can do to sort out Bk. On the issue of our forces being capable of dealing with threats in other countries,don't even doubt them for one second.I served in the navy and i can easily tell you that on this continent,the only army that give us a solid fight is the egyptian army.Many people underestimate the Nigerian armed forces because we are thought to have no sophistacated military equipments.Nothing can be further from the truth.Just like our presidential palce is kept a secret so is our military.If you were privy to what equipments we have you will shocked.There is a reason our soldiers are nicknamed "thunder green".Our boys and girls are gallant,strategic,brilliant ,deadly war heads and they always get the job done.

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