As the preponderant military power regional policeman, service men and women of the Nigerian army, navy and airforce were yesterday (25, March 2018) airlifted by the NAF C-130 Hercules transport plane to the Gambia to relieve Nigerian forces that has been in the Gambia since January for the ongoing ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG).
The forces deployed were included troops from :
Nigerian Army 351 Artillery Regiment.
Nigerian Navy SBS Commandos (Special Boat Service).
The NAF C-130 transport plane will return back to Abuja with the Nigerian contingent that haf just completed their 6 months tour of duty in the Gambia.
In January 2017 the Air Force deployed forces to the Gambia to lead a standby force tasked by ECOWAS Heads of States to enforce the December 1,2016 election mandate, which restored Adama Barrow as President.
When the embattled leader Yayha Jammeh refused to honour the election result, vowing to hand on to power people and spewing obscenities at the Presidents of Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria, Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari ordered the military to deploy forces to forcefully remove Jammeh from power should the deadline given by the ECOWAS Security Council for him to step down expires.
Within days the Nigerian Air Force deployed 200 of its elite Special Forces troops and air assets consisting of fighter jets, ISR capable aircrafts, CH-3 Rainbow armed drones, helicopters and Intelligence Reconnaissance (ISR) aircrafts. Forty eight hours before the forces took off for Gambia the Nigerian Navy’s newest warship – NNS Unity, a stealth OPV was sent off the coast of Gambia to blockade the country.
The naval blockade and the threat of Senegalese troops storming Banjul, backed by airpower was all that was required convince Yahya Jammeh that ECOWAS is not in the business of minding its own business. The embattled tyrant wannabe relinquished power on 21 January 2017, keeping ECOWAS dictator free.