ECOWAS troops enter Gambia effortlessly, secures State House
*Jammeh disappears into thin air
Troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have entered The Gambia without any resistance from the country’s military. They have secured the State House, which is the seat of government.
The ECOWAS troops entered The Gambia after midnight, hours after last minute talks between Mauritanian President, Mohamed Abdel Aziz and Mr Yahya Jammeh fell through.
The country’s President-elect Adama Barrow is expected to be sworn in today, 19th January by the nation’s Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Barrow is currently waiting in neighbouring Senegal to be flown in after the operation to remove Jammeh is concluded and over. Efforts to track where Mr Jammeh is proved abortive after all the grand standing.
A statement from the Flagstaff House Wednesday said Ghanaian President, Akufo-Addo, approved and authorised the deployment of a combat team of two hundred and five troops, backed with the appropriate logistical Airforce equipment, to support the ECOWAS troops.
Senegal gave Jammeh a midnight GMT deadline to quit. Nigeria sent an air force unit to Senegal in support of the possible intervention. Wednesday was meant to be his last day in office, but the parliament in what looked like a last minute effort granted him three more months in the post.
If the parliamentary decision had been followed, it would have effectively breached the nation’s Constitution and efficiently stopped the electoral winner and successor, Adama Barrow, from being sworn in Thursday.
Barrow’s shock victory in the 1st December 2016 election plunged The Gambia into political crisis. West African countries were seeking the United Nation’s backing to intervene militarily to eject Mr Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia since taking power in a bloodless coup in 1994.
Meanwhile, thousands of UK and Dutch tourists were evacuated from the tiny West African state, which is popular with European holidaymakers because of its beaches, prior to the expected resistance and force to take over the political reins of governance.
Why is Mr Jammeh refusing to leave office?
The Gambia regularly held elections, which Jammeh has always won until last year. Mr Jammeh has said there were irregularities in the election process, including the turning away of some of his supporters from polling stations and errors made by the electoral commission.
The commission accepted that some of the results it initially published contained errors, but said Mr Barrow had still won.
Mr Jammeh has said he will stay in office until new elections are held. Retaining power would also ensure he was not prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Gambia for alleged abuses committed during his rule.
The US state department urged Mr Jammeh to peacefully transfer power to Mr Barrow on Thursday. “Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect The Gambian people from potential chaos,” spokesman John Kirby had said in a statement.