Nigeria troops ready for Mali, Guinea-Bissau

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Nigeria's defense minister says his country is ready to send troops to Guinea-Bissau and Mali as part of a regional force heading to the nations recently struck by coups.

Bello Haliru Mohammed said Monday that the Nigerian troops would be part of the forces heading to the two West African countries on behalf of the regional body known as the Economic Community Of West African States. He said Nigerian troops will be in Guinea-Bissau before Friday, while soldiers would head to Mali when instructed by the regional body.

Soldiers toppled Mali's government in March, while the military toppled Guinea-Bissau's government in April.

ECOWAS has previously said it intends to send about 3,000 troops to Mali. The junta has rejected the plan, however, putting the mission in question.