Nigeria to withdraw some troops from Mali

2013-07-18 21:19
Malian troops patrol in the Adrar of the Ifoghas mountains. (Ghislain Mariette, AFP/Ecpad)

Malian troops patrol in the Adrar of the Ifoghas mountains. (Ghislain Mariette, AFP/Ecpad)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abuja - Nigeria plans to withdraw some of its troops from Mali because they are needed back home, where the country is battling a deadly Islamist insurgency, officials said on Thursday.

It was not clear how many troops would be pulled from the troubled west African nation, where Nigeria currently has some 1 000 troops, a Nigerian military source said.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc Ecowas, told reporters the withdrawal was because Nigeria needed its soldiers back home.

"It's because of the domestic situation," Ouattara said after an ECOWAS summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

"I received a letter from the president. Nigeria needs some of its people. They are not withdrawing everyone. They are withdrawing part of the troops. A good part of the troops are going to be there."

However, the military source said troops would pull out because the country felt "shabbily treated" under the new UN force in Mali.

A Nigerian commanded the previous African-led force in the country, but the UN mission is being headed by a Rwandan. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, has the biggest military in west Africa.

"Nigeria feels shabbily treated ... when it became a UN outfit," the military source said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

"...A non-Nigerian was appointed as force commander while we are putting so much into the mission. So we think we can make better use of those people at home than to keep them where they are not appreciated."

France withdrawing

He added that "it is not all of them that will be withdrawn," without providing specifics.

The UN mission integrates more than 6 000 west African soldiers into its ranks and is charged with ensuring security during and after 28 July elections in Mali.

It is to grow to 11 200 troops, plus 1 400 police, by the end of the year.

French forces intervened in Mali in January to push out Islamist rebels who had seized the north. The UN deployment has allowed France to start withdrawing most of its 4 500 troops.

Nigeria approved the deployment of 900 troops with the capacity to increase to 1 200 under the previous African-led force.

Nigeria's military has been stretched thin back home.

Violence linked to an insurgency by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, mainly in Nigeria's north, has left some 3 600 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    ecowas  |  france  |  nigeria  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks more focused after Japan shock
Pumas, Namibia make 11 changes each
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Springboks' bus driver inspires team in UK
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.