Venerdì, 24 Novembre, 2017

Gambia Prepares For Showdown As Foreign Troops Threaten Intervention

Gambia Nigeria deploys troops fighter jets Nigerian Military Nigerian troops, warship sail to Gambia to remove Jammeh by force
Rufina Vignone | 19 Gennaio, 2017, 22:36

Gambia's army chief said Wednesday he would not order his men to fight other African troops if they enter Gambian territory, speaking as Senegalese and other troops massed on his nation's borders.

Wednesday is supposed to be Mr. Jammeh's final day in office, as President-elect Adama Barrow is due to be sworn in on Thursday, January 19.

A 90-day state of emergency has been declared in the country after its president of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh, has refused to hand over power after losing an election last year.

Gambians are now expecting military intervention from Senegal and Nigeria's military as early as tomorrow under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In a desperate counter move on Tuesday, Jammeh declared a nationwide state of emergency, alleging that several foreign interests had been invested in last December's election results. Meanwhile, thousands of Gambians are fleeing the country or sending their children overseas, fearing a possible war.

"The protection of human rights should be at the core of any solution to Gambia's political crisis", said Corinne Dufka, West Africa Director at Human Rights Watch. "We are ready and are awaiting the deadline at midnight".

Following recent newspaper reports that alleged Liberian mercenaries, led by former President Charles Taylor's elite security commander Benjamin Yeaten, resurfaced in The Gambia, the Freedom newspaper has reported yet another recruitment of rebels by President Yahya Jammeh.

The regional bloc was seeking the UN Security Council's endorsement of its "necessary measures" to remove Jammeh.

Jammeh, who initially conceded the election to Barrow in a surprise defeat in December, has since reneged his offer to step down, and may be preparing for a fight to stay in office.

Gambia, a tiny nation of 1.9 million people, remains on edge as regional leaders scramble to bring an end to the political chaos. Barrow later travelled to Senegal.

Mr Barrow said during the election campaign that his time in Britain helped his political career by teaching him the importance of time-keeping and working long hours. There were chaotic scenes at Banjul airport as tourists waited for the next flight out of the country.

Travel group Thomas Cook said it planned to bring home almost 1,000 vacationers, and four flights were being added Wednesday.

Gambia is seen as a haven by holiday-makers for its glorious beaches and sunny weather.

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