*May still head for Malabo
Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, former president of Gambia has left Banjul, the capital to begin an indefinite new but alien life in exile. He left just after 10.00pm for Conakry the Guinean capital, along with the host President, Alpha Conde.
To massage his large ego, he was given a full ceremonial honour by the military brass band and a red carpet treatment.
Hordes of journalists and a battery of photographers had camped all day at the Banjul International Airport waiting for his departure, after an agreement was reached Friday night with President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Abdul Aziz of Mauritania, for him to vacate power voluntarily.
Paparazzis kept vigil and waited at the airport to capture Jammeh’s exit.
Signs of Jammeh’s exit came at about 9pm Nigerian time, when one of the journalists keeping vigil, tweeted: “The #Gambia military brass band is here @ the airport. The red carpet has been rolled out. Yahya Jammeh should be on his way.”
The former soldier turned civilian leader held sway in the country for 22 years and had vowed to rule the country for a hyperbolic ‘billion years’ until he was thrashed in the presidential election by a political green horn, Adama Barrow.
It is not clear where Jammeh will end up eventually. He flew out with President Alpha Conde in an aircraft owned by Mauritania.
After landing in Conakry, Jammeh may finally be heading to Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, ruled by another African pseudo democrat, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who has been in power since 1979.
The embattled former Gambian President has left the State House in company of his mother, wife Zainab, son Mohammed and President Alpha Conde. Yahya Jammeh left the State House hours after announcing he was finally ceding power to his successor Adama Barrow.
The 51-year-old has been under national and international pressure to vacate the Gambian presidency following his dramatic U-turn from conceding last December’s elections to Real Estate businessman Adama Barrow.
His volte-face had plunged the country he had ruled since 1994 into political crisis as a combination of diplomacy and threat of the use of force by the West African regional grouping Ecowas was applied to force him to relinquish power.
After marathon negotiations involving Guinean leader Alpha Conde and Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz which ended on Friday, Mr Jammeh announced in the early hours of Saturday that he was leaving the presidency.