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Obasanjo counts the cost of ECOMOG

Nigeria had at least 500 soldiers killed, several hundred wounded and spent at least US $8 billion during its seven-year peacekeeping operation in Liberia, President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Monday. ‘The Guardian’, a Lagos newspaper, reported on Tuesday that this was the first official casualty figure given by any Nigerian leader since the ECOWAS Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) first landed in Liberia in 1990. Nigeria largely paid for and led the force that peaked at 15,000 in Liberia, and is still deployed in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Obasanjo, who has promised transparency during his tenure of office, made the disclosure at a reception held in Abuja on the arrival of the last Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers from Liberia. He said scores of soldiers had been maimed for life and many others went missing in action. “We will never know the number of Nigerian civilians who lost their lives in the crisis in Liberia,” he added. Nigeria has also started its disengagement from ECOMOG’s operations in Sierra Leone, following the recent signing of the Lome Peace Accord between the country’s government and rebels. However, the United Nations says it expects Nigerian troops to take part in a UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to be deployed in the country.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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