Following threats by the ‘defeated’ Gambian President Yahya Jammeh not to step down after the expiration of his tenure, the Nigerian Army has raised an Army battalion that would be deployed in the troubled Gambia to forcefully wield the big stick.
Anytime after January 19, the Army battalion, known as the ECOMOG NIBATT 1 – from the Army’s 19th Battalion based in Okitipupa, Ondo State – would be deployed in The Gambia should President Jammeh stand by his threat not to step down.
Premium Times quoted top military officers as saying that personnel were also drawn from other formations and units across the country due to shortage of men at 19 Battalion which has a significant chunk of its troops deployed for internal security task force, Operation Delta Safe.
It also gathered 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.
A source in the Army said: “This is an emergency operation, but we are ready.”
“The Nigerian Army is a strong, professional fighting force battle ready at anytime. We are so well structured that we can deploy at the touch of a button.
“We did it in Liberian, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. And Jammeh should know that we are not a joking force. Once we get the all clear from ECOWAS, the AU and the UN to move in, we can pick him up.”
President Jammeh, who lost the December 1, 2016 Gambia presidential election to opposition candidate, Adama Barrow, had initially accepted defeat and congratulated Mr. Barrow.
But later he changed his mind and decided to challenge the outcome of the election.
The recalcitrant ruler also vowed not to hand over to the winner as expected on January 19.