Within the next 24 hours some Nigerian troops will be in Mali,a spokesman of the Defence Headquarters,Col Mohammed Yerima said on Tuesday.The spokesman said president Goodluck Jonathan has already given approval for the deployment of troops.Reports said about 200 troops are expected to move in .But earlier reports said Nigeria may have pledged 500 soldiers. The spokesman said the Force Commander Major-General Umar Abdulkadir is already on ground in Mali.
Speaking to diplomats on Monday ,President Jonathan said troops would be in Mali before next week.He announced that a technical team was already on ground.
The Defence headquarters said the men on ground already include army and air force officers as Newsdiaryonline.com had reported at the weekend.
Newsdiaryonline.com further learnt that the bulk of those going to Mali may be made up of soldiers with experience in Darfur,Sudan.This is because the Malian terrain which is largely desert-like may be familiar to those who have been to Darfur earlier.Also ,it was learnt that some of the soldiers going to Mali have gone through some simulation training in a Sahelian part of North East Nigeria ahead of the troops’ deployment to Mali.