Gambian leader finally agrees to step down amid military pressure

22 January, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Gambia’s president-elect takes oath at Senegal embassy

Jammeh, who has ruled the smallest country on the African continent since he led a coup 22 years ago, initially accepted the result of the December 1 election.

A statement issued at the United Nations headquarters in NY by the Secretary-General further expressed deep concern about the refusal of the former President Yahya Jammeh to step aside and about the high outflow of Gambians into Senegal.

Jammeh made no mention of whether he would go into exile but said he was leaving power in the national interest and was grateful there was no bloodshed during the political stalemate.

Mauritania president Abdul Aziz talks confirmed that a deal has been struck with Jammeh's to allow him step down peacefully.

Gambia's president-elect, Adama Barrow will be installed as Gambia's new President, today, January 19, at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal, Nigerian Bulletin reports. Jammeh transited to a civilian ruler and won the last four elections in the country.

Tens of thousands of Gambians had fled the country during his rule and more had escaped to Senegal in recent days fearing military intervention.

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Democratically elected President Adama Barrow was sworn in on Thursday night in neighbouring Senegal.

Barrow was inaugurated Thursday at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal, where forces mobilized by the Economic Community of West African States regional bloc prepared to oust Jammeh if he refused to step down.

"There is a sense that the whole situation rests in the hands of one person, and it's up to that person, the outgoing president of the Gambia, to draw the right conclusions", said Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog, the current council president.

In a statement on its website, Thomas Cook said it had activated its contingency plans and was laying on extra flights in the next 48 hours to remove 985 package tour customers from the tiny West African nation.

Jammeh, 51, who had initially conceded the presidential election to Barrow on live television, began calling for new elections last month after the incoming government threatened to prosecute him for crimes against the country. But he then changed his mind and said he would not accept the results, saying the election was marred by irregularities.

"We are going to welcome them with flowers and make them a cup of tea", Badjie told Reuters in an interview today.


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