Gambia’s army chief, Ousman Badjie, has said he would not order his men to fight other African troops if they enter the Gambian territory.
Badjie spoke on Wednesday, Jan. 18, as Senegalese and other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops are stationed on The Gambia’s borders.
The West African troops are on standby to move into The Gambia as President Yahya Jammeh approached a midnight deadline to step down or face military action after refusing to leave at the end of his term.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Badjie said, after eating dinner in a tourist district close to the capital, Banjul.
He continued: “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men, we are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute… I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men.
“If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up to surrender gesture.
Meanwhile, the Senegal army spokesman Colonel Abdou Ndiaye said the Senegalese troops are on alert ahead of the expiration of Jammeh’s deadline.
“Our troops are on alert… The ultimatum takes effect at midnight,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force has deployed a standby force to Senegal where it is expected to operate into Gambia.
In a statement shared on Wednesday, the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) said the deployed troops were part of the Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG).
The NAF moved to Dakar today, Tuesday, Jan. 18 and led by led by Air Cdre Tajudeen Yusuf.
“A contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, Light Utility Helicopter as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft” were deployed.
“They are expected to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia,” NAF said in a statement published on its Facebook page.
SOURCE: BBC and agencies news