Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Burkina Faso will become the first troop contributing nation to deploy to the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) when the first batch of its 170-member Formed Police Unit (FPU) lands in Bissau Thursday, PANA has learnt.
Apart from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo are also expected to contribute to the 629-strong regional force, which will replace Angolan troops.
West African defence chiefs ended their one-day meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday with an agreement to begin the deployment Friday (18 May), ahead of the 30 May withdrawal of the Angolan security mission.
Among its functions, ECOMIB will support the restoration of constitutional rule, provide security for VIPs and guarantee the freedom of movement of humanitarian agencies in the country, ahead of the planned Security Sector Reform in that country.
The ECOWAS Commission has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the troop contributing countries, which together will provide, among others, police units, motorized and engineering construction units as well as a level 2 hospital support.
At their summits in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on 26 April and Dakar, Senegal, on 3 May, West African leaders authorized the deployment of contingents of the ECOWAS Standby Force to both Guinea-Bissau and Mali.
ECOMIB Force Commander, Col. Gnibanga Barro, was formally introduced to the Chiefs of Defence Staff at their one-day meeting in Abuja, as was the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Guinea-Bissau, Ambassador Ansumana Ceesay, who will also double as the Head of Mission.
A source close ECOMIB had told PANA Tuesday that though the troops to be deployed for the mission are ready, they will not be deployed until the equipment they will use during the mission are in place.
-0- PANA SEG 17May2012