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ECOWAS denies dragging its feet over troop deployment

The 16-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) today (Thursday) denied news reports that it was dragging its feet over the deployment of peacekeeping troops in Guinea Bissau.

Reuters quoted the president of Guinea Bissau’s parliament, Malam Bacai Sanha, yesterday (Wednesday) as saying “practically nothing” had been done to send the troops. But an ECOWAS official told IRIN that countries that had promised troops had still to make them available. Benin, The Gambia, Niger and Togo are expected to provide troops. Even when the soldiers are available for transport to the field of operations there could be logistics problems. The official said the community did not have the means to move men and material in great numbers and support was being sought from other nations.

General Timothy Shelpidi, the commander of the community’s Peace Monitoring Force ECOMOG said on a recent inspection tour of Guinea Bissau that there was still no money available for an immediate troop deployment. Deployment of ECOMOG troops is one of the items of a deal signed by Guinea Bissau’s rival civil war leaders and is a condition for the immediate withdrawal of Senegalese and Guinean troops in that 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:

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