Amid Insecurity, Human Rights Violations, Nigerian Army Moves To Deploy 319 Officers, Soldiers For Peacekeeping In Guinea Bissau

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The Nigerian Army has announced a date for medical screening and pre-deployment training for 319 troops for a peacekeeping mission in Guinea Bissau despite the rising cases of insecurity across the country.

The troops are to begin their pre-deployment training on May 15, 2024 at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC), Jaji, Kaduna state, an internal memo seen by Bellnews revealed.

“Reference A conveyed vacancies for nomination of personnel for Nigerian Company 2 ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in the Republic of Guinea Bissau. Nominations were therefore received from various Corps and Headquarters in this respect,” the memo read.

“The nominees are expected to undergo medical screening and predeployment training at MLAILPKC Jaji before deployment to the mission area. Accordingly, I am directed to respectfully request you release nominated personnel listed at Annex A to report to MLAILPKC on 15 May 24 for medical screening and pre-deployment training.

“I am to add that any personnel who fails to report on or before 15 May 24 will be disqualified. I am to further request MLAILPKC to prepare to receive the personnel while HQ NAMC is to conduct the medical screening. For MLAILPKC, you are please requested not to screen any personnel without a valid international passport. Furthermore, personnel who have not spent 5 years after returning from any Peace Support Operations are to be disqualified.”

The troops comprising 19 officers and 300 soldiers are to be led by Lieutenant Colonel U.J. Atelhe.

Meanwhile, some military sources have bemoaned the deployment of troops to other countries while losing the battle against insecurity at home.

In the past few months, the state of insecurity under the current service chiefs has been intense with the military, police and other security agencies battling one form of violence or another in virtually all parts of the country.

The Global Terrorism Index (2024) ranked Nigeria as the eighth-worst nation prone to terrorism with no improvement since 2017.

Insurgency, banditry, and kidnapping have made some parts of the country virtually unlivable.

Some Nigerian soldiers have also been accused of harassing, assaulting and intimidating journalists, human rights activists, residents and critics of the government.

Recently, FirstNews editor Segun Olatunji was arrested and assaulted for days by personnel of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

On February 23, about seven soldiers arrested and handcuffed another journalist, Dele Fasan.

The soldiers hit Fasan with a gun for recording a planned labour protest in the Delta State against economic hardship.

In March, troops of the Nigerian Army invaded Igbomotoru community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, razing houses and allegedly killing about 11 people following the killing of some army personnel in Okuama community in Delta State.

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