Nigeria sends troops, jets to Senegal for Gambia force

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (C) meet Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (R) in Banjul on January 13, 2017 (AFP Photo/) (NIGERIAN PRESIDENCY/AFP/File)

Lagos (AFP) - Nigeria has sent 200 soldiers and air assets including fighter jets to Senegal as part of a regional force to enforce the result of Gambia's contested election, the country's air force said Wednesday.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it had "today moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, light utility helicopter as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Dakar from where it is expected to operate into Gambia".

The Economic Community Of West African States has repeatedly called on leader Yahya Jammeh to respect the result of the December 1 election and step down after 22 years in power.

Jammeh on Tuesday declared a state of emergency as President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, maintained his inauguration will go ahead as planned on Thursday on Gambian soil.

Nigeria said the forces were part of an ECOWAS military standby intervention force "tasked by ECOWAS heads of state to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate in The Gambia".

"The deployment is also to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia," it added in a statement.