Senegalese troops ready to intervene in Gambia | News | DW | 23.12.2016
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Senegalese troops ready to intervene in Gambia

West African countries have nominated Senegal to lead a military intervention in Gambia if President Jammeh does not step down. Jammeh refused to accept defeat in elections on December 1.

The move was announced by the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel De Souza, on Friday.

After elections on December 1 ended in victory for Jammeh's little-known opponent, Adama Barrow, the Gambian leader initially conceded defeat.

However, he has since retracted the concession and his party, the Alliance for Construction and Reorientation, has filed a petition to Gambia's supreme court challenging the election results.

Gambia Wahlsieger Adam Barrow (Getty Images/AFP/M. Longari)

Adama Barrow, a little-known businessman, beat Jammeh in elections on December 1

De Souza said on Friday: "The deadline is January 19 when the mandate of Jammeh ends. If he doesn't go, we have a force that is already on alert, and this force will intervene to restore the will of the people."

Diplomatic efforts

In response to attempts by ECOWAS countries to persuade him to step down, Jammeh earlier this week said: "This country has been independent since 1965. And they want me to leave my country? Who are they to tell me to leave my country?"

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been selected by the regional bloc to act as mediator and offer Jammeh an "honorable exit." According to De Souza, Senagalese troops will only be deployed if diplomatic efforts remain unsuccessful.

Jammeh has served as president since 1994, when he seized power in a military coup. Human rights groups have accused him of arbitrary detention and torture.

rls/kms (Reuters/AP)

 

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