(JollofNews) – The Nigerian Air Force’ (NAF) contingent deployed in the Gambia to secure the nation’s presidential transition said Thursday ousted former ruler Yahya Jammeh was ready for war to prolonged his stay on power.
Nigerian Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, who leads 77 airmen and 20 officers, who were among the over 200 personnel sent by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said if not for the intimidating air power deployed by the subregion, ex-president Jammeh would have refused to step down and put up a fight.
Jammeh left the country after refusing for weeks to recognise his electoral defeat to Adama Barrow, who returned to The Gambia as president from Senegal last week.
Commodore Yusuf told reporters at the Nigerian capital Lagos : “What they saw at the State House in Banjul and Jammeh’s private residence in his home village of Kanilai clearly showed that he was ready to die and even cause the death of innocent people.
“We conducted the operation with deterrence and diplomacy. When we gained access to the State House, from what we saw, Jammeh was prepared for war.
“But for the airpower that we showed, as we were the first country to show up at the Gambia, he would not have stepped down.
“For now, we have won the battle but it’s left for the political leaders to win the peace and stabilise the country. The forces we left there are to basically stabilise the Gambia and integrate their forces in the security arrangement.”
He added: “They will continue to be there until stability is achieved and the ECOWAS leaders decide that all security forces of other nations stand down.”