|Gambian outgoing president Mrr. Jammeh Yahya|
Gambia! Where is Gambia? Gambia is a tiny West African country with a total population of not more than two million people, 90 percent of which are Muslims and 8 percent Christians. A usually peaceful country, with beautiful countryside scenery. Gambia has a total land mass of 4,127 sq. mi, making it the smallest country in mainland Africa completely surrounded by Senegal.
|Gambian troops during peace keeping|
Recently, the country has been embroiled in an internal crises. The current president Mr. Yahya Jammeh who lost the just concluded general election to Mr. Adama Barrow with about 51,000 votes, defeated Yahya initially concede defeat and placed an iconic call to the president elect Mr Adama Barrow. But few days later Mr. Yahya made a public announcement that he will not step down and demanded a rerun of the general election. Mr. Jammeh has been in power for 22 years after a bloodless military coup in 1994.
President elect Adama barrow has called on Mr. Jammeh to engage in direct talks. Mr. Jammer’s term officially ends next Wednesday. He has challenged the election results in court.
Foreign leaders from Ecowas met at The Gambia to try to persuade Mr. Jammeh to step down.
The group has warned that it will consider military force if he doesn’t step down as scheduled.
|Preesident elect Adama Barrow|
However, Nigeria has taken the lead in pressuring Mr. Yahya while the country’s House of Representators has even went a step further to offer him a political sanctuary in Nigeria if the need arises. Nigerian president Mr. Muhammad Buharu has been very vocal in asserting his demands. Initial reports from the Nigerian local newspapers surfaced that Nigeria has raised multiple battalions for immediate forward deployment to the Gambia which was later denied by the military.
This type of military deployment is not new to the Nigerian military since it has conducted similar operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone few years back. Although diplomatic approach is currently being used in resolving the crises but if it fails, would Nigeria and Ecowas be willing to use military force? Nigeria which is one if Africa’s most powerful country and the obvious regional superpower has always been a staunch supporter of democracy and the rule of law.
Although, prior to the current crises, Nigeria and The Gambia has enjoyed full diplomatic relationship and has supported each other.. Such as when the Gambia severed all diplomatic ties with Iran following the seizure of a suspicious arms shipment in Nigeria In November 2010.
Furthermore, the Gambia has been very active in pushing AU/UNs policies and agendas.
During the early months of the Libyan Civil War, the Gambia became the first African state to recognize the National Transitional Council as the sole legitimate representative of Libya.
|A Gambia soldier firing an AK47 rifle|
The Gambia has also played an active role in that organization’s efforts to resolve the Liberian Civil War and contributed troops to the community’s cease-fire monitoring group (ECOMOG). It has also mediated disputes in nearby Guinea-Bissau and the neighboring Calamanco region of Senegal.
Although, the Gambia military is very small (about 5000 in total), its experience in numerous UN,AU and ECOWAS peacekeeping has kept it relevant plus it is currently receiving valuable combat training from Britain and formerly from Libya.
If the Nigerians decides to invade, with its limited amphibious naval vessels and lack of long range aerial strike platform the Nigerian military will find it difficult in overpowering the tiniest nation in Africa. Considering that initially it performed poorly against the Boko Haram terrorist it is currently battling. The Gambia military is a much more professional fighting force the that rag-tag insurgent group.
A further article will be written concerning the best possible way the Nigerian military can overpower the much smaller Gambian Armed Forces at the smallest possible time with the least casualty.