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19 January 2017

The Gambia crisis: Barrow inauguration to come off as ECOWAS forces advance

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ECOWAS forces have entered The Gambia to secure the State House, the seat of government, without any resistance from the country’s military, according to unconfirmed reports.

The reports indicate the ECOWAS troops entered the West African country after midnight, following failed last-minute talks between Mauritanian President, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, and Yahya Jammeh.

ECOWAS issued an order for military intervention in the small West African country to oust President Jammeh at the stroke of midnight Thursday when his mandate ends.

The Gambian journalists say there have been no reported cases of gunfire as the ECOWAS forces move into the country to preempt disruption during the inauguration of President-elect, Adama Barrow.

Mr Jammeh has refused to step down after the country’s electoral commission declared Mr Barrow winner of the national elections.

Mr Jammeh first conceded defeat but made a U-turn to call for fresh elections citing irregularities during the electoral process.

Adama Barrow, a real estate mogul and political novice, is expected to be sworn in Thursday after winning the elections on December 2, 2016.

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Adama Barrow’s inauguration today will bring to an end Jammeh’s 22-year rule that has been mired in reports of gross human rights abuses.

Mr Jammeh has ruled The Gambia since taking power in a coup in 1994.

Wednesday was meant to be his last day in office but parliament granted him three more months in the post.

Mr Barrow, who was said to be preparing to be sworn in as president “on Gambian soil” on Thursday, remains in neighbouring Senegal.

At least 26,000 Gambians, fearful that violence could erupt, sought refuge in Senegal this week.

Meanwhile, thousands of UK and Dutch tourists continue to be evacuated from the tiny West African state on special charter flights.

Gambia is a popular beach destination among European holidaymakers, especially in winter.

Mr Jammeh declared a 90-day state of emergency calling for “peace, law and order” in a bid to extend his rule and stop the inauguration of Mr Barrow.

source :BBC

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