Former leader of The Gambia leaves country following threat of military intervention

Kari ReynoldsJan 23, 2017

Jammeh, who ruled this impoverished West African nation for more than 22 years, went into exile late Saturday under mounting worldwide pressure. While the petition has not yet been heard, leaders of global bodies and different West African countries have made attempts to mediate into the crisis but have reached no agreement.

That decision ignited a political crisis in the small West African nation as regional leaders threatened to use military force to oust the the sitting president if he failed to step down.

In a late night televised address, Mr Jammeh said he has always put above and everything else the independence of the free and proud people of the Gambia and will always work together with Gambians to defend that independence they have so dearly fought for and won.

Barrow, who took the oath of office in the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on Thursday, has assured citizens who fled that "they now have the liberty to return home".

Botswana also appealed to the global community to do all within its power to exert pressure on Jammeh to hand over power.

Barrow on his twitter handle, @adama_barrow, said "would like to inform you that the 2nd President of the Republic of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia.#Gambia".

The unpredictable Jammeh, known for startling declarations like his claim that bananas and herbal rubs could cure AIDS, went into exile under mounting global pressure, with a wave to supporters as soldiers wept.

Jammeh could return to The Gambia when he pleased, the statement added, and property "lawfully" belonging to him would not be seized. "Under global law in fact you can't amnesty certain crimes like torture and massive or systematic political killings", Brody says.

The force will remain in the country "until such time the security general situation is comprehensively redressed", Barrow said in a statement.

"Depending where Jammeh ends up, though, the real obstacles to holding him accountable will be political", he wrote in an email.

"We are going to wait for Barrow at the airport all the way to State House".

Despite a whirlwind 24 hours, life in the capital Banjul appeared normal on Sunday.

"We will look for arms caches and detect mercenaries, so that we can restore calm", said Marcel de Souza, president of the ECOWAS commission, explaining to reporters overnight the new phase of the military operation.

He said that, given appropriate orders, he would open the doors to the notorious prisons.

The focus for Gambians has now turned to calling Jammeh to account for some of his alleged human rights abuses.

During Jammeh's reign, his government was accused of harsh treatment of opponents.

He said this while addressing journalists in Dakar, Senegal.

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