THE Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, airlifted 200 personnel to Senegal to join troops of the Economic Community of West States for onward movement to Gambia for the enforcement of the country’s December 1 presidential election where the incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh reportedly lost to his Adama Barrow.
The airlift of the Air Force personnel is expected to be followed by the Nigerian Army, would airlift more than 500 troops today (Thursday) for the Gambian task. A military source said the Army troops will be airlifted by the C-130 transport plane. Recall that the Nigerian Navy had on Monday, in like manner, deployed its newest battle ship, NNS Unity to the tiniest West African nation. The troops’ deployment to Gambia was a mandate of the Economic Community of West African States,ECOWAS, to enforce the results of the December 1,2016 presidential election in that country.
The Air Force personnel were airlifted from Kainji to Dakar in Senegal. The troops which included the Special Forces, Combat Support Group, Technicians, Medical officials, among others, were airborne in the Hercules C-130 military transport plane. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who addressed the troops, urged them to keep Nigeria’s flag flying by being professional and to conduct themselves to the Air Force high standard.
“You have been given the task which is very well defined, and we have put together all the air assets that we think are necessary to ensure that we are able to to successfully conduct this operation and that is what we have on ground here,” Abubakar said. Among the platforms being deployed to the Gambia included fighter air planes, helicopters, C-130 and the large utility helicopter which will also be useful in the conduct of the operation. “What we have here are men that are highly trained, highly skilled they know their job and they know their task, and as a professional service the commander of the air assets will work together with other commanders and they will come up with what is required in terms of plans, to be able to execute their tasks and come back home,” Abubakar said.