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Gambian President Yahya Jammeh Refuses to Step Down

It seems the former military officer and second President of Gambia won’t go down without a fight.

Jammeh lost elections to Adama Barrow last month but last night’s midnight deadline to leave office came and went with no sign of movement.

President Jammeh has ruled since seizing power in a 1994 coup.

It is reported that parliament has extended Jammeh’s presidency by three months but Nigeria and other states of West Africa are preparing to use military action to ensure the transfer of power.

The President justifies his position by suggesting the election process was flawed. He claims that along with errors made by the Electoral Commission, some of his supporters were turned away from polling stations.

Yahya Jammeh, Gambian President

 

However, it seems likely that his refusal to leave is linked to protecting himself against potential prosecution for abuses committed during his rule.

Forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture feature on the long list of human rights violations allegedly committed by Jammeh’s government.

While Adama Barrow awaits resolution in neighbouring Senegal, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) seeks permission from the UN Security Council to use ‘all necessary measures’ to remove Yahya Jammeh from power.

Adama Barrow’s is an interesting figure – from working in the UK as an Argos security guard to running a successful property development business, his past makes him the unlikeliest President.

Adama Barrow, President-Elect

 

Despite not being a particularly dynamic speaker, he bravely branded Yahya Jammeh as a ‘soulless dictator’ in the run up to the election.

He won the hearts of Gambian voters by demanding a government with increased respect for human rights, an independent judiciary and freedom of media.

The foreign office has issued instructions for British tourists to return home from Gambia as soon as possible.

Brits rush to leave Gambia

 

Thomas Cook plans to bring 985 customers back to the UK within the next 48 hours. Similarly, over 300 customers are being flown home by travel company, The Gambia Experience.

The situation grows more volatile by the hour – we can only hope that Jammeh stands down before bloodshed ensues.