Africa

Nigeria army memo: Prepare 800 troops for Gambia if needed

A Nigerian army memo orders officers to prepare a battalion of 800 troops for a possible military intervention in Gambia.

The Economic Community of West African States has said it has a standby military force ready to enter Gambia if President Yahya Jammeh does not cede power when his mandate expires next Thursday. Jammeh is challenging the results of the Dec. 1 election that he lost.

The memo dated Wednesday and seen by The Associated Press is signed by Nigeria's chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and describes the force as ECOMIG, or ECOWAS Mission in Gambia.

Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman denies Nigeria's military is readying such a force.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is leading a delegation now in Gambia to persuade Jammeh to step down.