(JollofNews) – West African nations have halted their military operation in the Gambia aimed at toppling the regime of President Yahya Jammeh in favour of mediation, report says.
According to reports monitored on France 24 Television, regional leaders have given Mr Jammeh a final chance to step down peacefully by midday on Friday of face being removed forceful.
A delegation of West African leaders – including the presidents of Liberia, Mauritania and Guinea – are due to arrive in Gambia on Friday as part of a mediation mission.
There has been no immediate response from Mr Jammeh.
Mr Jammeh’s whose term expired on Wednesday after a surprised defeat in last month’s election, has earlier refused calls to step down. He declared a state of emergency on the penultimate day of his term and also used his party dominated parliament to extend his mandate for 90 days.
His successor, Adama Barrow, was sworn-in on Thursday as the Gambia’s third president at a ceremony held at the Gambian embassy in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, which was attended by western and African dignitaries.
Shortly after the ceremony he have his blessings for the Senegal led troops to entered Banjul. The troops have warned Mr Jammeh that they are ready to topple his regime militarily if refuses to step down gracefully.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously backed regional efforts to ensure a handover of power in the Gambia, throwing its full weight behind Mr Barrow.
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This is a live report and we will be updating it as events unfold
UN Security Council Backs Regional Efforts To Ensure Peaceful Transfer Of Power To Barrow
Urging all Gambian parties to respect the outcome of the 1 December election recognizing Adama Barrow as the country’s President-elect, the United Nations Security Council today expressed its support for the commitment of West African States to “ensure, by political means first, respect of the will of the people.”
Amid a political standoff over Gambia’s presidency – President-elect Barrow is reportedly expected to be sworn in later today at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal even as incumbent Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution expressing grave concern at the risk of deterioration of the situation in Gambia.
The Council strongly condemned President Jammeh’s 9 December statement rejecting the official election results and the takeover of the Independent Electoral Commission by the Gambian Armed Forces on 13 December 2016, as well as the attempt by the Parliament on 18 January 2017 to extend President Jammeh’s term for three months beyond his current mandate, which ends today.
Against this backdrop, the Council strongly condemned the attempts to usurp the will of the people and undermine the integrity of the electoral process in Gambia, as well as the attempt to prevent a peaceful and orderly transfer of power to President-elect Barrow by declaring a state of emergency.
Endorsing the decisions of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to recognize Mr. Barrow as President-Elect of Gambia, the 15 nation Council called upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organization to cooperate with him in his efforts to realize the transition of power.
The Council also requested the Gambian defence and security forces to demonstrate “maximum restraint” to maintain an atmosphere of calm in country, and stressed “their duty and obligation to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities.”
The text further commends and strongly supports continued efforts of the AU and ECOWAS to promote peace and stability in the region. By the text, the Council requests for the Secretary-General to update the body on the resolution’s implementation within 10 days.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Congratulates Barrow
I congratulate His Excellency Adama Barrow on his inauguration as the new President of The Gambia.
The elections of 1 December 2016 were free and fair, and an orderly expression of democratic choice by the Gambian people. They represent a new chapter in the country’s history and an opportunity for change in The Gambia.
The United Kingdom pays tribute to the decisive leadership shown by ECOWAS and the supportive role played by the African Union in ensuring that the democratic wishes of the Gambian people will be respected. It is vital that former President Jammeh now stands aside to allow an orderly transition.
The United Kingdom has a long and historic relationship with The Gambia and I look forward to working closely with President Barrow’s government to further develop our already strong bilateral and economic links.
European Union’s High-Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini Speaks To Barrow
I just spoke with the new President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, to congratulate him on his investiture this afternoon. I wished him every success for his mandate in full respect of the free will of the Gambian people expressed in the peaceful presidential elections on 1 December 2016.
The former President, Yahya Jammeh, has so far not responded positively to sustained efforts by ECOWAS, which is showing real leadership in the process, and the African Union and the United Nations. I urge him to reconsider his position and to respect the will of the Gambian people.
The coming weeks and months will be important to ensure a smooth transfer of power. The European Union is committed to supporting this process and is looking into all available instruments at its disposal. The EU stands ready to step up support to The Gambia in line with the priorities of the new government in view of encouraging democracy, the respect of human rights and the rule of law, as well as supporting sustainable and inclusive development.
I am looking forward to fully engaging with President Barrow and moving the EU-Gambia relations into a new era.
Amnesty International Calls On Barrow Not To Forget His Big Promises
As Adama Barrow is scheduled to be inaugurated in Senegal this afternoon, Sabrina Mahtani Amnesty International’s West Africa Anglophone Researcher said:
“Today’s inauguration ceremony of Adama Barrow is a moment to remember the risks currently faced by Gambians, and also gives an opportunity to reflect on hopes for the future.
“We must not forget the big promises Adama Barrow has made to free political prisoners, remove repressive laws, and bring Gambia back to the International Criminal Court.
“As Gambians await a solution to the current crisis, the country’s security forces must know that the world is watching and refrain from cracking down on those who wish to exercise peaceful dissent during this transition period.”
Breaking News: Jammeh Dissolves His Cabinet
President Yahya Jammeh has dissolved his cabinet, according to a media statement from the Office of the President.
Mr Jammeh said he will oversee all ministries until a new cabinet is appointed.
He thanked his ministers for their valuable services.
More Diplomats Reacts To Barrow’s Inauguration
US Ambassador to Senegal Jim Zumwalt told Senegal’s RTV:
For us it is very important to promote democracy in The Gambia. We are delighted to work together with Mr Barrow for the good of Gambians.”
UK Ambassador to Senegal George Hodgson said:
This moment has been a long time coming, for Gambians and for the whole of West Africa. Here we have the president of The Gambia and he has called on the Gambian armed forces and people to follow the constitution and the democratic voice of Gambians. We hope it will not be long before he is installed in Banjul, where he should be.”
French Abassador to Senegal Christophe Bigot said:
This is a historic day and a victory for democracy. It is important for The Gambia, Senegal and the whole Africa and will considerably change the relationship between Senegal and The Gambia. We will continue to offer support so that the ceremony here will be followed by a ceremony in Banjul and Mr Barrow can begin implementing his ambitious programme of reform.
Joint ECOWAS-AU-UN Statement on the occasion of the swearing-in Ceremony of H.E. Adama Barrow, President-Elect of the Republic of the Gambia
19TH JANUARY 2017
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations congratulate H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia on the occasion of his swearing-in and assumption of the mantle of leadership to the highest office of the land following his victory at the presidential election of 1st December 2016 and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations equally congratulate the people of The Gambia who have demonstrated patience, discipline, maturity and resolve to defend their popular will, as expressed in the 1st December, 2016 presidential election and during the post-electoral crisis.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again commend the independence, professionalism and commitment of members of the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia and all political parties for exercising the needed restraint that paved way for the peaceful conduct of the 1st December, 2016 presidential election.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations commend the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Her Excellency (Mrs) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and Co-Mediator, for the efforts undertaken for the resolution of the post-electoral impasse in The Gambia in full compliance with constitutional legality to ensure peaceful transfer of power.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations urge His Excellency Adama Barrow to take all necessary steps to strengthen national unity, social harmony and peace in the Gambia with a view to addressing the socio-political and economic challenges that have hampered poverty reduction in the country.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again urge the Security Forces to observe neutrality and conduct themselves in a civil manner, and to strongly support President Barrow by maintaining public order and security which are essential to the stability and development of the country.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations reaffirm their commitment to continue accompanying The Gambia in consolidating democracy and rule of law in the country.
Botswana Dumps Jammeh