Nigeria will keep troops in Mali for as long as it takes to resolve the crisis and restore peace and stability to the country, the Nigerian president said through his spokesman Tuesday.
“Nigerian troops will remain in Mali for as long as it takes,” Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman Reuben Abati told AFP in an email.
Nigeria has vowed to send 1,200 troops to take part in an African force to help French and Malian soldiers fight Islamist rebels who have seized more than half of Mali’s territory and enforced an extreme form of Islamic law in northern towns.
The first 80 Nigerian troops left for Mali last Thursday.
Jonathan, Abati said the Nigerian president was deeply committed to helping “ensure that the insurgents are flushed out of northern Mali and that the situation in Bamako is quickly stabilised.
“He is also committed to working with Malians to facilitate the full restoration of democracy and normalcy in the interest of sustainable peace and stability in the country,” he said, adding that Nigerian troops would remain in Mali until all of these objectives had been achieved.
“Mali is of strategic importance for peace and stability in the entire West African sub-region,” he said.