Abuja — NIGERIA'S Defence Ministry said it had evacuated more than 800 Nigerians that were under threat from the political turmoil in the crisis-ridden Central African Republic.
This is half the number of locals that had sought refuge in the embassy in Bangui, the capital of the Central African country.
Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said the Ministry deployed a Nigerian Air Force Charlie 130 aircraft with compact medical and welfare personnel to ensure effective evacuation of the distressed Nigerian citizens.
“Apart from the C130 aircraft provided by the Defence Headquarters the Federal Government has also arranged several chattered flights to bring home the over 1 620 Nigerians who were sheltered at the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui.
"About 831 Nigerians comprising men, women and children have already been airlifted home safely since the commencement of the exercise on January 3, while the medical team from the Defence Headquarters has been on ground to offer medical assistance to the sick and the injured,” he said.
He added that Nigerian Embassy officials have expressed optimism that with the Defence Headquarters intervention and the two other planes chartered by the Federal Government, the evacuation exercise will soon be completed.
The Chief of Defence Staff has assured that the NAF C130 aircraft would continue the evacuation exercise until the last displaced Nigerian citizen in the Central African Republic is brought home safely.
He commended the French forces, who he said are securing the Bangui International Airport for cooperating with the Defence Headquarters team and facilitating the successful evacuation of Nigerians.
The Central Africa Republic conflict started in December 2012 between government forces and rebel groups.