Nigeria pulls troops from Mali for its own fight

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Associated Press

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 2:34 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A battalion of Nigerian troops fighting Islamic extremists in Mali will return home Wednesday, where their country faces a similar challenge.

Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said Tuesday some will be redeployed immediately.

A battalion is about 700 soldiers. Nigeria had sent 1,200 troops to aid an African Union force putting down an Islamic insurgency in northern Mali.

The African Union said earlier this month that Nigeria would withdraw some troops to fight an Islamic uprising in its northeast.

Some soldiers fighting in northeast Nigeria have complained that they have been deployed for more than two years, thousands of miles from their families.

Activists say the lack of rotations could contribute to ongoing reports of human rights abuses, which the military denies.

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