Highly placed sources told Newsdiaryonline.com that Nigeria,Niger and Senegal have deployed troops to Mali. “Some of the troops scheduled for the military intervention are already on ground” according to a diplomatic source.
Troops from Niger are believed to have been airlifted to Mali help from France.Nigerian troops were airlifted with the military C-130 plane.Sources said 500 Nigerien troops may have been deployed.The exact number of Nigerian troops could not be confirmed immediately but sources said there may be about 500 troop from Nigeria at this initial stage.
West Africa now appears to be playing catch up after France seized the initiative by deploying soldiers yesterday.Nigeria-based Centre for Democracy and Development,CDD had in a statement on Saturday by its Director, Dr Jibrin Ibrahim said it was time for ECOWAS to act.
Reports said France has already lost a pilot in Mali.But the French authorities who surprised watchers with this military action, contrary to their well-known position to merely give support are now insisting that the action was justified as the Malian rebels represent a threat to the West African sub region.The rebels must not take over Bamako, the country’s capital,France has said.
Fresh information reaching Newsdiaryonline.com late Saturday night suggested that the United Kingdom has offered to support the Mali operation with the airlift of troops from any of the countries in the region.Also it was gathered that Burkina Faso has deployed 500 troops to Mali as well.
Meanwhile,sources said the Nigerian troops already deployed include Army and Air support units.The use of air support units was very effective in ECOMOG’s battle against Liberian rebels in the past.It is hoped that the same feat would be repeated now.But insiders are conscious of the fact that the terrain and the scenario in Mali are different.