Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie’s visit to Gambian peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur has been canceled by the United Nations, diplomatic sources told the BBC.
At least 208 Gambian military officers are stationed in Darfur and Daguerre as part of the UN’s peacekeeping force.
This week, the military chief caused confusing after saying he is loyal to the commander in chief while attending a meeting with ECOWAS leaders. He had a badged picture of President Jammeh on his uniform.
“I’m supporting the commander-in-chief of the Republic of the Gambia – of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia – whosoever it may be,” he said. “My job is security, to make sure this country is peaceful and is secure, that is my primary role and that is what I’m paid for. As we speak now, I’m paid by the government of the day, that is Yahya Jammeh’s government. He’s my commander-in-chief as we speak now. I have only one commander-in-chief as we speak.”
President Jammeh lost elections and refuses to leave. The UN has threatened to impose strong sanctions on him and The Gambia’s neighbors may use military force to bend him out of power.
Soldiers from The Gambian Armed Forces seized the electoral commission office on Tuesday and the UN called the move disrespectful and a defiance to the international community ahead of a meeting with West African leaders, who demanded he steps down.
BBC World Service Africa editor James Copnall says that by canceling General Ousman Bargie’s visit to Sudan, the UN is putting pressure on the military to not side with President Jammeh and to allow the man announced as the winner, Adama Barrow, to be sworn in as president.