ECOWAS is not ruling out any option, including the use of military force but wants to ascertain what is true and what is not, to take a definitive decision on the political impasse in The Gambia, says Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoggrey Onyeama.
Onyeama, who met Senegal’s President Macky Sall last week, said West African leaders will inject all their energy to make sure the process and the outcome are peaceful.
Ecowas is trying to verify from West African intelligence agencies the credibility of reports that The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is recruiting mercenaries to help him hold on to power and thwart any military intervention.
“We will take the necessary steps to address that,” says Oyeama.
The regional group is accessing the threat level and possibility of Jammeh resorting to the use of force to remain in power before making any final decisions.
Many Gambians are, however, stocking up and some are already fleeing the country to safety over fears that Jammeh will resort to war to stay in power, but Onyeama told DW’s Adrian Kriesch that deploying troops in The Gambia “is not the conversation of the leaders – but the council of presidents in the ECOWAS can definitely give the mandate for such a deployment.”