President Yahya Jammeh's refusal to hand over the presidency to Adama Barrow has pushed Gambia to the brink of a military conflict. Now Barrow has announced that he will be sworn into office in Senegal.
Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow announced on Thursday that he would be sworn into office in the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal. Barrow fled to Senegal after Yahya Jammeh, president of the small West-African nation for 22 years, refused to vacate the position.
Jammeh narrowly lost to Barrow in December's election. The long-ruling leader initially conceded defeat, only to change his mind soon after and refuse to accept the result.
Many West African nations support Barrow's claim to the presidency. Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana in particular have threatened to take military action against Jammeh. Senegal, which surrounds Gambia, has deployed troops to the border. Ghana's president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has pledged to send 205 soldiers to enforce the election results. Nigeria plans to deploy 200 soldiers and fighter jets to Gambia.
"If a political solution fails, we will engage," Colonel Abdou Ndiaye, a spokesman for the Senegal army, told news agency AFP.
On Thursday, the UN Security Council is scheduled to debate whether the United Nations should approve a military effort led by Senegal to force Jammeh's resignation. Thousands of Gambians and tourists have already fled the region in anticipation of a possible violent confrontation.
Among rising pressure from the West African community, support for Jammeh's presidency is dwindling. Vice President Isatou Nije Saidy, who was Jammeh's second in command for 20 years, reportedly resigned on Wednesday.
The chief of the Gambian army, Ousman Badjie, said on Wednesday that he would not stand in the way of attempts to remove Jammeh from office. According to news agency dpa, Badjie, along with Inspector General of Police Ousman Sonko, stopped taking commands from Jammeh when his term officially expired on Wednesday at midnight.
mb/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)