ECOMOG will complete its deployment in Guinea Bissau by the end of the month, Togolese Defence Minister Assani Tidjani told AFP yesterday.
Officials from troop-contributing countries - Benin, The Gambia, Niger and Togo - as well as representatives from donor countries met yesterday in Lome, the Togolese capital, to make final plans for deployment, the agency said.
When they arrive, the troops will take up positions between loyalist government forces and those of the mutinous Military Junta which tried to oust President Joao Bernardo Vieira in June 1998. In accordance with the November 1998 Abuja peace accord, the arrival of ECOMOG will enable the departure of Senegalese and Guinean troops, who were defending the Vieira government.
Tidjani said the delay was due to logistical problems. A French navy ship carrying equipment for ECOMOG was expected in Guinea Bissau by the end of January, he added. Military Junta leader General Ansumane Mane had given the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is sending ECOMOG, till the end of this week to announce the deployment date. So far, just one company of Togolese troops, an advance element sent to secure the airport in the capital, has arrived. The other troops are expected from Benin, The Gambia and Niger.
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