Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow is preparing to return to Banjul for his inauguration after the country’s dejected President Yahya Jammeh was given a four-day deadline to cede power.
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe said West African leaders meeting in Mali set January 19 as a deadline to solve the Gambian political crisis and for Jammeh to avoid being militarily extinguished from power.
Barrow traveled unexpectedly to Mali to take part in the Africa-France Summit where he met with 30 other African leaders and French President Francois Hollande.
West African defense chiefs were meeting in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to make decisions on military action against President Yahya Jammeh.
ECOWAS earlier pledged to send troops to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Gambia if Jammeh persists in his refusal to step down.
Its leaders led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari were unsuccessful in their diplomatic efforts for Jammeh to step down peacefully.
Nigeria’s parliament had voted to approve asylum for Jammeh. Jammeh’s 22-year rule of The Gambia ends next week and ECOWAS has the mandate to make its member states respect their constitution. Togo and The Gambia were the only two West African nations that rejected an ECOWAS proposal to introduce presidential term limits in its member states.