The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has finally sent its troops inside Gambia to force dictator Yahya Jammeh out of power, as it prepares to install president-elect Adama Barrow in the capital Banjul.
“There is a Nigerian contingent made of Air Force, Navy and ground troops, there are also troops from Senegal, Ghana, Togo and Mali, and a personnel from the ECOWAS standby force,” Senegal Army spokesperson Colonel Abdul Ndiaye told French radio RFI.
They all have one mission: to take down losing presidential candidate Jammeh, who is refusing to step down to make way for newly elected President Adama Barrow.
Barrow, a former security guard and real estate agent, was sworn-in on Thursday night at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, as West African troops were seen camping at the country’s borders. “The objective is to eject him by force,” ECOWAS Commission chairperson ECOWAS Marcel Alain de Souza was quoted by the RFI website as saying.
“If he doesn’t leave the country by noon on Friday under the mediation of Professor Alpha Conde, the troops will kick off the military operations,” de Souza warned.
Guinea President Conde, a close friend of Jammeh, seems to be the only West African head of state to oppose military intervention. Nevertheless, time seems to be running out for Jammeh to leave the country peacefully or face the full force of more than 5 000 ECOWAS troops itching for action.
Watch this space!
(with RFI, translation, final editing and additional reports by Issa Sikiti)
Photo: President Adama Barrow takes the oath at the Gambian embassy in Dakar. Credit: Senegalese Presidency/AFP/RFI