By Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on, 25 March 2018, airlifted Nigerian Army (NA) and Nigerian Navy (NN) contingents to The Gambia in pursuance of the ongoing ECOWAS Mission in Gambia (ECOMIG).
The troops who were airlifted by the NAF C-130 Hercules Aircraft included officers, soldiers and ratings from 351 Artillery Regiment NA as well as from the Special Boat Services of the NN. The troops and other equipment deployed for the operation were airlifted from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja to Banjul in The Gambia.
The NAF aircraft is also expected to recover home the Nigerian contingent that had completed their 6 months tour of duty in The Gambia as stipulated for troop’s rotation in the ECOMIG Operation.
It would be recalled that the NAF was the first to deploy to The Gambia in January 2017 as part of the standby force tasked by ECOWAS Heads of State to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate, which restored Adama Barrow as President.
The NAF deployed 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, light utility helicopters as well as Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
The NAF’s timely intervention served as deterrence to the former President Yahya Jammeh who then relinquished power on 21 January 2017 thus paving way for the restoration of democracy in the country.