THE Nigerian Air Force (NAF) contingent that joined the ECOWAS force to The Gambia to reinstall democracy and possibly, militarily oust the former and embattled President of The Gambia, Yahaya Jammeh who lost the December presidential election to the current President, Adama Barrow but refused to step down has returned home.
The contingent returned to Nigeria on Thursday from Dakar, Senegal.
Jammeh had refused to step down a week after he called Barrow, then President-elect to concede defeat. After much persuation by ECOWAS body that he cede power, Jammeh adamantly stayed put, prompting the ECOWAS bloc to send in both ground, sea and air troops to oust him.
This decision became even necessary then when the country’s army boss, Ousman Badjie initially declared unalloyed support for Jammeh. However, he later made a volte face, declaring total suppport and allegiance to the new President, Barrow when the tension became high with Senegalese and Nigerian troops among the ECOMIG force pushing to enter Gambia to oust Jammeh.
Ousman then stated strongly that he would not order his men to engage the ECOWAS troops, calling such a stupid fight.
However, despite the advancement of the ECOWAS troops to The Gambia’s borders, Jammeh stayed put, claiming it was the will of Allah that he defend The Gambia.
But, in a last minute dialogue, Jammeh gave in and stepped down after saying that none of the ECOWAS member leaders loved The Gambian people more than himself.
Barrow who had fled the country to neighbouring Senegal was sworn-in as the President of The Gambia in Dakar, Senegal.
Barrow has since come home to lead his country men.
Meanwhile, as the storm seems to have died down, the troops have started to dismantle for their various countries.
The pictures show our gallant NAF contingent return home after hearkening to the “SOS” call from an ECOWAS sister country.