Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: 1,200 Nigerian Troops Now in Mali - DHQ

The last batch of Nigerian contingent to Mali, comprising of 162 troops were, yesterday, airlifted as contribution to the African International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). This was just as Nigerian Army and its Indian counterpart strike a deal on counter-terrorism training.

The troops were jointly airlifted by Nigerian Air force C-130 and the British Government's C-130 cargo aircraft.

With this new development, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika said the Army has completed the 100 per cent allocation assigned to it.

Briefing the media, yesterday, at the Defence Headquarters, its spokesman, Col Yerima Mohammed disclosed that the troops left the country with some support equipment for the on-going operation.

"The Defence Headquarters has so far deployed over 1200 officers and men to the African- led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). The last batch comprising of 162 troops will be airlifted to Mali today (yesterday) by Nigerian Air force while the C-130 aircraft provided by the British Government would equally airlift support equipment to the operation, side by side our own C-130," Yerima said.

Speaking on the same issue, the Chief of Army Staff told the Defence correspondents that as at yesterday, "the Nigerian Army has achieved 100 percent deployment for all ranks to African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA)." He made this disclosure while welcoming the Vice Chief of Army Staff of India, Lt Gen Shri Krishna Singh into his office where the two talked about the need to bring into fruition the pact between the two armies beginning with training of Nigerian soldiers in counter terrorism among others.

Speaking further, Attahiru said, "The troops in Mali are provided with adequate logistics which is self sustaining for initial 90 days duration in line with global practice. The Nigerian Army has established an AFISMA Monitoring Team to support the operations in Mali as a new innovation towards improving the well being of Nigerian troops deployed in Mali."

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