Nigeria will be following the footstep of France and in less than 24 hours will commence the deployment of her military forces to Mali. Earlier, even before France throw in her hat in the Mali war theater in order to defeat the Northern Islamist in that country, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pre-arranged to deploy a contingency plan of 3200 force.
Associated Press reported that “Nigerian defense spokesman Col. Mohammed Yerima said Tuesday that Nigeria will send about 900 troops to Mali.The announcement comes as West African nations pledge support for a French-led mission to oust Islamic extremists from Mali.French President Francois Hollande launched an attack on the militants, who are linked to al-Qaida, last week after the rebels began advancing south.France’s action pre-empted a United Nations-approved plan for a military operation in Mali, which was expected to start about nine months from now. Hollande decided that a military response to the extremists could not wait that long.”
Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika said at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day while laying the wreath to commemorate the ceremony that Mali’s insecurity is a threat to the regional’s security.
This will not be the first time Nigeria has intervened in African hotpots, Nigeria’s intervention in Liberia and Sierra Leon have been helpful to the cultivating of democracy and peace in those former war torn nations. In 2003, the Nigeria led ECOWAS military deployment chased away Charles Taylor, former president from Liberia .Since then democracy has flourish in Liberia and Charles Taylor has been convicted by United Nations backed International court of justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In same year of 2003, there was also an African peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan in 2004 to resolve the western Darfur atrocities. Some of these missions can be characterized as success while others like western Darfur were a failure.
Even the successful interventions were sometimes muddled and disorganized, out of track without a well thought plan. Many civilians were misplaced and the collateral damages could have been minimized. But this does not mean that ECOWAS or AU will not be given thumps up and kudos for their initiatives and interventions in hot spots of Africa.