Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has held himself incommunicado from the international community. The UN says Mr. Jammeh who has been defeated in the polls and refusing to step down is unreachable by phone.
“Despite efforts to reach President Yahya Jammeh by phone, the Secretary-General has not yet been able to speak with him,” said UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
The UN Chief has however spoken with the West African nation’s President-elect Adama Barrow and reiterated the commitment of the UN to a peaceful, timely, and orderly transfer of power and his support for the ECOWAS resolution.
The UN welcomed and fully supported the decision of ECOWAS on December 17, to support the safety of the president-elect and uphold the outcome of the elections.
ECOWAS has authorized a standby force to be deployed to The Gambia if mediation efforts fail to make Jammeh leave power before January 18.
Jammeh accused the international community of violating the sovereignty of The Gambia and the country’s acting Ambassador to the UN says ECOWAS forces will be treated as invading troops.
President Yahya Jammeh who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years is fearful of being prosecuted for crimes against the state and human rights abuses. Opposition leaders vowed to declare him a rebel if he refuses to leave when his mandate expires.
Jammeh has since filed a legal challenge demanding fresh polls be held and says he would not be “intimidated or blackmailed” to leave power.