Italy will spend a little over €30 million on a military mission in the Sahel, according to a resolution sent in recent days to the Parliament. That amount is what it would cost to maintain a contingent in Nigeria until Sept. 30, which, once fully operational, will consist of 470 soldiers, 130 land vehicles and two aircraft.
The joint Foreign Affairs and Defense committees of the House and Senate will discuss the resolution starting from next week. Barring any surprises, the proposed mission should not encounter obstacles, since both the Democratic Party and Popular Alternative party, as well as Forza Italia (as confirmed by Silvio Berlusconi himself), have said they support the new African plan.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni presented this mission at the end of the last cabinet meeting, explaining that the Nigerian government had requested the Italian presence on Nov. 1. The goal, Gentiloni said, is to “strengthen the country and combat human trafficking and terrorism.” The objectives to be achieved, as the resolution now explains, are training the Nigerian forces, particularly the army, the national gendarmerie, the National Guard and the Special Forces, in their activities of “combating the phenomenon of illegal trafficking and threats to security,” but also in increasing border surveillance, as well as contributing to the “development of the air-power component of the Republic of Nigeria.”