President Yahya Jammeh’s failure to hand over power “will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” the U.S. government said.
The State Department, which has documented some of Jammeh’s rights abuses and crimes against the state has warned the longstanding ruler to step down and avoid the consequences of not handing over power to President-elect Adama Barrow.
The bizarre and thug-like dictator is losing opportunities to hand over peacefully and the U.S. says it is not ruling out using its military power to support West African forces to oust the tyrannical leader.
U.S. has strong military relations with Gambia’s neighbor Senegal, which is to lead West African troops to flush out Jammeh and install Barrow.
President Yahya Jammeh has declared a 90-day state of emergency partly blamed on foreign interference, but the U.S. maintains that it wants to see Mr. Barrow installed and the will of the people respected.
“I don’t know what interference he’s referring to, but we obviously want to see the Gambia succeed…, and we want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government, which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people,” said State Department Spokesperson John Kirby.
The U.S. is supporting ECOWAS, the regional bloc leading the transition effort in providing for security and addressing some of the concerns should there be violence around the transition.
It has advised it citizens against traveling to the West African nation, evacuated families of its mission’s employee and urged citizens to leave.
President Yahya Jammeh has ruled the Gambia for more than two decades and was defeated in the polls last month. His refusal to leave power has made the political future of the peanut exporting country very uncertain.