ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara says Nigeria is withdrawing some of its 1,200 troops in Mali to fight an Islamic uprising back home.
The announcement comes 10 days before elections in Mali, which is fighting its own uprising by Islamic extremists.
The Nigerians were in a force of 12,600 African troops in Mali under a U.N. peacekeeping mandate preparing to take over from 4,500 French soldiers.
Ouattara told to reporters Thursday as chairman of a summit of West African nations in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Nigerian military sources indicated most troops would be returning home. They spoke on condition of anonymity because formalities have not been completed with U.N. officials.
Troops fighting under a state of emergency in northeast Nigeria have complained that they have not been rotated for months.