Jonathan orders Nigerian troops home from Mali

By The Citizen

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the withdrawal of the country's troops from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

However, it was gathered that President Jonathan ordered Nigeria's withdrawal in protest against 'ill treatment of own troops and non- recognition of the roles it has been playing in the search for global peace.   Nigeria was shabbily treated despite its role in efforts to stabilise the situation in Mali.

This is the first time in the history of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations that Nigeria is unilaterally withdrawing own troops over disagreement with the way mission operational headquarters is staffed.

Last month, UN Secretary General UN, Ban Kin Moon announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura of Rwanda as the new Force Commander of MINUSMA, sidelining Nigeria's Major General Shehu Adbulkadir who was the force commander of AFISMA from inception in January 2013.

Despite being the fourth largest troop contributing country under the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, no Nigeria has any appointment as the Force Commander in any of the UN peace keeping missions.

In February this year, Nigeria deployed a total of 1,200 troops for the AFISMA operation, comprising a Nigerian Army battalion plus strength of 900 troops and Nigerian Air Force strength of 300 troops.  In addition, a Signal Squadron of 61 personnel was deployed. The Air Force also deployed two Dassault-Breguet Dornier Alpha fighter jets and two Mi-35 Helicopters for the Malian operation.

In addition, the Nigerian Contingent Air Component has deployed the C-130 Transport Hercules and the medium carrier, the G222 for the operation. It, however, lost one of the Alpha jets and two pilots in the Malian operation.

The Director of Defence Information, Brig Gen Chris Olukolade, who refused to comment on the ordered withdrawal of troops, said that 'we will let Nigerians know if we are withdrawing from Mali. And we shall follow all diplomatic and other procedures if and when we are pulling out.''

MINUSMA took over from the African International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) under which Nigeria deployed in February this year.

The UN currently has 15 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission - the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). – Guardian