The Gambia’s first president and elderly statesman Sir Dawda Jawara is unharmed in a fire that destroyed part of his home in Fajara, a suburb outside the capital Banjul.
Jawara, 92, ruled The Gambia for nearly three decades before been ousted in a military coup in ’94 led by a former bodyguard of his, Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh has since ruled the West African nation and accused by rights defenders of being an iron-fist ruler.
“It is true that fire damaged part of former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s residence in Fajara. We assure you that he and his family are okay and well,” Abdou Rahman Jawara, a family spokesperson and nephew to the former head of state said in a statement.
Jawara returned from the UK where he was in exile in 2002. He ruled under difficult circumstances, with his PPP government at the center of corruption accusations but hailed as a man with exceptional political qualities.
Mr. Jawara’s family did not say if he has been relocated to a different place to stay.
The Gambia’s government has not made any official statement as an investigation into the fire outbreak gets launched to determine the cause. It is not known if The Gambia’s government will foot the bill to reconstruct the former president’s home.