Breaking: Jammeh’s Lawyer Flees To Senegal After Jammeh Himself Has Agreed To Go Today
President Yahya Jammeh’s lawyer has resigned and fled to Senegal “in the interest of peace” he said in a moving letter’
Barrister Edward Anthony Gomez said he was working under tremendous pressure but had to go.
He made this known in a moving letter to President Jammeh. Read the letter below.
President Jammeh has agreed to step down after 22 years in power and a defeat in the last presidential election, Senegalese sources said on Thursday morning.
Senegalese sources said he would leave The Gambia today for a country not yet disclosed and Adama Barrow may be sworn into office on Friday 20 January instead of Thursday 19 January.
Late on Wednesday, Gambia’s army chief said his troops would not engage in a “stupid fight” against West African forces, dashing the last hopes of a man who has been a power for 22 years but was refusing to go after losing a presidential election on December 1.
The army chief’s announcement came even as the Mauritanian president flew out of The Gambia, hoping to strike a last-minute deal to convince Jammeh to hand over power to real-estate mogul, Adama Barrow, who defeated him.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Chief of Defence Staff Ousman Badjie said after eating dinner in a tourist district close to the capital Banjul, eyewitnesses told AFP.
“I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men,” he added. “If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up or surrender, AFP added.
Several West African countries had lined up troops along Gambia’s borders as President Jammeh refused to step down when his mandate expired early Thursday.
Mr. Jammeh, who has ruled this nation of two million people for more than 22 years, lost elections in December to Barrow. He was expected to hand over on Thursday but was not ready to do that.
He initially accepted his defeat, saying, “Allah is telling me my time is up.” His concession was hailed as a victory for democracy on a continent where longtime rulers have changed constitutional term limits to retain power.
About a week later, however, Mr. Jammeh said he no longer accepted the election results, which he said were flawed. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency, citing foreign interference in Gambian affairs.
On Wednesday, the country’s National Assembly extended Mr. Jammeh’s term, which officially ended at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, by three months.
Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Togo and Mali have moved troops into Senegal, close to the Gambian border, to enforce the leadership transition if it proves necessary, said Col. Abdou Ndiaye, spokesman for the Senegalese army.
“They will enter [Gambia] from midnight at any time,” Col. Ndiaye said, adding that the troops included ground, air and naval forces.The Economic Community of West African States—the regional bloc that includes Gambia—has said it would drop its recognition of Mr. Jammeh as the country’s president when his term officially ends.
Ecowas in December authorized a standby military force that could intervene if Mr. Jammeh tries to remain in office. Some observers, however, said they expect the bloc to continue its mediation efforts after his term expires, rather than send troops immediately.