The Federal Government is to deploy 140 police officers to participate in the African-led International Support Mission in Mali.
The Director of Defence Information, Col. Mohammed Yerima, in a statement on Thursday said the officers billed for the operations were already on standby.
Yerima, who gave an update on the deployment of troops by the Defence Headquarters, noted that 500 officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces had so far been deployed in the war-torn country.
Yerima noted particularly that 138 of the officers were in Banamba, Mali.
He said, “Currently, there is company strength of 138 men (all ranks) stationed in the city of Banamba Mali. Seventeen Nigerian personnel are at the AFISMA Headquarters in Bamako. Twenty-four personnel are at the transit camp. A Signal Squadron of 61 personnel is currently deployed.”
Yerima also said the Defence Headquarters had deployed 300 personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, who have their base at the Nigerien capital, Niamey.
He said the DHQ would deploy the remaining troops later.
He added, “The Nigerian Air Force, which is stationed in Niamey, Niger Republic, has a total strength of 300 personnel. The remaining troops and equipment will be deployed in due course. Also to be deployed is a contingent of 140 Nigeria Police personnel who are already on standby
“As at present, the Nigerian Armed Forces has deployed over 500 officers and men to the AFISMA operations.”
Investigation however revealed that the Federal Government had not deployed all the 1,200 troops it pledged to contribute to the regional intervention force because deployment was scheduled for September.
The military however hurriedly deployed the troops following the commencement of military operations by the French military forces and their Malian counterparts in the embattled country.
The infantry soldiers pencilled for deployment are still undergoing training in Sokoto State for international peacekeeping operations.