Nigeria will this week deploy troops to Guinea-Bissau and Mali as part of peace-keeping initiative by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Defence Minister, Bello Haliru Mohammed, who announced the deployment on Monday during a meeting of the Regional Defence Chiefs, said Nigeria remained committed to its pledges to deploy troops, not only to Guinea-Bissau, but to Mali as well.
Although, he did not specify the size of the troops to be deployed, but said that the deployment would be before May 18.
“In Guinea-Bissau, we will deploy before the 18th of this month,” he said.
For Mali, Mohammed said that the forces were ready to go, but were still awaiting signals from the ECOWAS.
“In Mali, we await the signals from (the regional grouping) ECOWAS. We have all our forces and equipment ready for airlift,” Mohammed added.
Regional leaders had decided at a summit in Abidjan on April 26 to deploy between 500 and 600 troops from at least four countries — Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast and Senegal — to Guinea-Bissau after some soldiers took over power through coup in the country.
Similarly, they also decided to send troops to Mali where President Amadou Toumani Toure was sacked through a coup on March 22.
Mohammed said that events in those countries were of concern, as they capable of retarding stability needed for development and the survival of democracy in the region.
“If not decisively tackled, the development is capable of destabilising the entire region,” he warned.