The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) has decided to send troops to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Gambia following the incumbent president’s refusal to accept that he lost December’s election.
ECOWAS made the decision to send to Gambia a standby force led by Senegal on December 17, but the document outlining the decision was not circulated until Thursday.
After more than two decades in power, President Yahya Jammeh, 51, lost the election on December 1 to Adama Barrow.
Jammeh has contested the result, and a court is due to review his claim on January 10. Barrow is scheduled to assume office nine days later, on January 19.
ECOWAS decided to send troops to ensure “the safety of the president-elect, political leaders and the entire population” and to uphold “the results of the presidential election,” the document said.
“The [standby force] shall be deployed in the Republic of Gambia until the president-elect is sworn into office and as soon as the necessary conditions for the effective exercise of the power of the new president of the Republic of Gambia are met,” the document said.
The situation in Gambia is tense, with many people – especially foreigners – fleeing the country, customs officials said Thursday. Prices for basic products are rising.
The United Nations has also called on Jammeh to accept the result of the election.
By Staff reporter