Benin pulls out troops, calm returns

Benin announced on Monday it would withdraw its 145 soldiers serving in Guinea Bissau with ECOMOG. In a statement released after a special cabinet session, the government said that with the overthrow of President Joao Bernardo Vieira, the need for a continued ECOMOG presence was "null and void".

The ECOMOG force in Guinea Bissau comprises troops from Benin, The Gambia, Niger and Togo. In an interview published in the `Daily Observer' newspaper in Banjul, Gambian National Army commander Lieutenant Colonel Samsideen Sarr said his troops would remain there until the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided otherwise.

ECOMOG (ECOWAS Monitoring Group) troops were deployed in January to police the truce between pro-Vieira forces and those of sacked armed forces chief of staff Brigadier General Ansumane Mane.