Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh asks for extension of deadline to quit

January 20, 2017 7:24 pm

Gambia’s long-time ruler

’s long-time ruler Yahya Jammeh has asked the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to extend a midday deadline for him to step down.
Jammeh asked the West African bloc for his deadline to be extended from noon to 4 PM local time (1600 GMT), government sources said on Friday.
It was not clear whether Jammeh intended to step down.
The development came as Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the Gambian capital of Banjul on Friday for last-ditch talks with Jammeh to persuade him to leave power.
The Gambian ruler, whose presidential term ended on January 19, has been in power for 22 years but lost the December election to the opposition coalition’s candidate Adama Barrow by a thin margin. However, Jammeh refuses to leave power under the pretense of election irregularities.
Initially Jammeh conceded defeat, before challenging the result in the courts.
Barrow, 51, was sworn in inside Gambia’s embassy in neighboring Senegal, where he had been remaining after Jammeh refused to endorse the results of the presidential election.
Meanwhile, international pressure is mounting with foreign forces entering the country and demanding his removal.
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday unanimously backed West African states’ efforts to force Jammeh to quit.
The 15-member body approved a Senegal-drafted resolution expressing “full support” to the Gambia’s new president and calling on ex-leader to step down.
A Senegalese army officer told media that troops from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Mali including “land, air and sea” forces crossed into the Gambia.
The Gambia’s army chief Ousman Badjie has said he would not order his men to fight the internationally-backed troops sent to intervene in the country’s elections.
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