Russian peacekeepers being withdrawn from Sierra Leone

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MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - The first Russian military transport aircraft will fly Friday to Sierra Leone to fetch the first group of 180 Russian Air Force peacekeepers and bring them home, said air force commander Vladimir Mikhailov.

Mikhailov said the operation was to continue on September 17, 24 and 25. "Each day, one aircraft," he said.

Five Il-76 Candid and one An-124 Condor military transport aircraft will be used in the operation. "The planes will deliver to Russia 150 metric tons of different cargoes, including four Mi-24 combat helicopters and 180 people," Mikhailov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to withdraw all Russian peacekeepers from Sierra Leone on August 31 after the completion of the UN mission in that country.

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