ACCESSION NUMBER:266927 FILE ID:AEF301 DATE:02/10/93 TITLE:U.S. TRANSPORTS NIGERIAN TROOPS TO SOMALIA (02/10/93) TEXT:*93020901.AEF SUB:SOMALIA CO:USAF AIRLIFTS NIGERIA TROOPS,#CC(FR)rlc,HRsp *AEF301 02/10/93 * U.S. TRANSPORTS NIGERIAN TROOPS TO SOMALIA (FR) (Deployment for U.N. peace-keeping) (460) LAGOS, Nigeria -- In a joint Nigerian-U.S. military operation, U.S. aircraft transported more than 600 Nigerian troops on a humanitarian mission to Somalia to join the United Nations peace-keeping mission in that country. The U.S. Air Force provided huge C-5 Galaxy aircraft and ground support to move a battalion-size contingent of troops and equipment from Lagos to Somalia to support Operation Restore Hope. In addition to the soldiers, the flights carried trucks, armored vehicles, and supplies for the troops. In an interview, Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Stults of the USAF Air Mobility Command (which operates the C-5's) said a mission such as this has a special significance, because it "shows how we are using our military forces in this drawdown time for some non-traditional military roles." Such a mission, he also noted, clearly shows "the value of our airlift forces." Both Nigerian and U.S. military planners laid the groundwork for the operation, which began with the arrival of the first C-5 in Lagos on February 2. It departed with 65 soldiers on the seven-hour flight to Somalia on February 3. The last flight of the mission landed February 9. A total of 621 Nigerian soldiers and 39 officers were deployed. Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis Spencer, defense attache at the American Embassy in Lagos, said a crew of about 35 USAF personnel has provided ground support for the series of departures, and about 20 USAF flight crew members rotated through Lagos each day with the successive flights. U.S. and Nigerian officials praised the cooperation between planners on both sides that allowed the deployment to proceed smoothly. The mission "underscores the good relationship we have enjoyed for a long time with the Nigerian military," said William Lacy Swing, American ambassador in Lagos. "This operation demonstrates what can be accomplished when our mission is clear and we have objectives that are sound and achievable," he added. 1 The ambassador congratulated the Nigerian military for participating in "a truly worthy humanitarian endeavor" in Somalia, as well as for Nigerian involvement in other peace-keeping efforts around the world. Colonel Ibrahim Aliyu, deputy director of Nigeria's Defense Intelligence Service, has been one of the key organizers of the deployment. He said the combined efforts of U.S. and Nigerian military authorities have resulted in a well-organized operation. "It is for a good cause," he added. Major T.O. Miri-Dashi, second in command of the 245th Reconnaissance Battalion, the unit to which the Nigerian soldiers belong, said such an operation "is a good thing. When you work together, you get to understand each other." NNNN .