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The first contingent of Nigerian peacekeeping troops arrived in Liberia on Monday, marking the start of an international peacekeeping mission in the war-torn country, according to reports reaching here from Monrovia
LAGOS, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The first contingent of Nigerian peacekeeping troops arrived in Liberia on Monday, marking the start of an international peacekeeping mission in the war-torn country, according to reports reaching here from Monrovia.
These soldiers left neighboring Sierra Leone aboard two UN helicopters on Monday morning, aiming to help police a ceasefire in Liberia.
The Nigerian soldiers , commanded by Brigadier-General Festus Okonkwo, are the vanguard of a much larger force being deployed bythe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It plans to put 3,250 men on the ground.
Emeka Onwuamaegbu, director of the Nigerian Army Public Relations, said on Saturday that "We have been directed to prepareour troops for deployment and some 776 soldiers will leave Sierra Leone on Monday."
"This is the first batch of the two battalions" as vanguard of Economic Community of west African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping troops Nigeria had promised to send to Liberia to end a 14-year bloody civil war, he said.
Nigeria, the strongest powerhouse in West Africa, is the main military to take charge peacekeeping mission in the sub-region.
In addition, Nigeria has also promised to offer asylum to Liberian President Charles Taylor who agreed to step down as peacekeeping force arrives in Liberia.
The civil war over the past decade has made Liberia among the most miserable places in the world and the latest unrest since 1998 has forced some 300,000 Liberians to flee to neighboring countries and claimed thousands more lives