West African leaders have taken a safety measure for the Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow to remain in neighboring Senegal until his planned inauguration on Thursday.
He landed in Dakar after attending the Africa-France Summit in Mali where the political crisis in the Gambia took center stage.
ECOWAS has passed a resolution in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital last month to ensure the safety and security of Mr. Barrow and uphold the outcome of the polls in which Jammeh was shockingly defeated.
Barrow is set to take power on January 19 when President Jammeh’s mandate runs out but the long-serving strongman has refused to cede power after disputing the result of a December 1 election won by Barrow.
ECOWAS has repeatedly called on Mr. Jammeh to step down peacefully. The 15 member economic bloc is asking for the approval of the AU and UN to use military action if Jammeh continues to cling to power.
Jammeh has ruled the Gambia with an iron fist since coming to power 22 years ago. He was defeated by Barrow in last month’s presidential race. Jammeh’s lawyers filed an injunction to block Barrow’s inauguration.
Jammeh who initially accepted defeat says he will not cede power until the Supreme Court makes a ruling on his election petition in May or November.
UN Refugee Agency said thousands of Gambians are internally displaced and much more have fled the country igniting fears of a refugee crisis in neighboring countries.
The AU Peace and Security Council warned Jammeh of ‘serious consequences’ and says the body will not recognize him as President.
West African defense chiefs met in Abuja to discuss possible military measures as a last resort to installing Barrow and uphold the will of the Gambian people. Many Gambians hope Jammeh will see wisdom and will not resort to a military showdown.