Gambia’s army chief Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie said his men would not be involved “in a stupid fight” after regional forces were deployed to oust former President Yahya Jammeh.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Lt. Gen. Bargie said. “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men.”
Bargie had caused confusion after pledging allegiance to President-elect Adama Barrow but reversing his position a week later and assuring President Yahya Jammeh of the loyalty of his troops.
Bargie’s flip-flopping led to the UN barring him from visiting Gambian peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur.
West African leaders had waited for all political means to be exhausted before deploying troops. Nigeria confirmed a warship was heading toward Gambia.
Jammeh had met with Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who was unsuccessful his bid to convince his longtime friend to leave.
Human rights groups have long accused Jammeh of arresting, jailing and killing political opponents, and there have been widespread fears for Barrow’s safety amid the post-election turmoil.