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Defence chief says Nigerian pullout will be “gradual”

Sierra Leone’s Chief of Defence Staff General Maxwell Khobe has said ECOMOG troops will stay in the country beyond May and Nigeria’s pullout would have to be gradual, news organisations reported. He told a news briefing yesterday (Thursday) that Nigeria’s withdrawal from the force would first have to be approved by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“Nigeria is not going to withdraw immediately,” he said. “If there is a thing like that, it is going to be gradual because in the first place, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have bilateral agreements.” Nigeria has said it wants to withdraw its troops by the end of May.

Meanwhile, 400 Malian troops were due to arrive in Freetown yesterday to reinforce the ECOMOG force, news reports said. PANA quoted the Malian authorities as saying the contingent would solely be carrying out peacekeeping duties and would not take part in fighting.

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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