The United Nations Security Council has recognized the Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow and backing the action of regional powers in the West African nation.
West African forces crossed into the Gambia depose former President Yahya Jammeh who remains defiant and refusing to leave power.
“The people of The Gambia spoke clearly at the elections in December. They chose Adama Barrow to be their president. Their voice now needs to be heard and their will needs to be heeded by just one man,” Peter Wilson, the UK deputy ambassador to the UN, said.
The language of the UN Security Council resolution was softened to win unanimous support, removing the “by all means necessary” approach and calling for the use of all political means first.
“Nothing in this resolution should be interpreted as authorization for the express use of force,” Uruguay’s U.N. Ambassador Elbio Rosselli told the council after the vote.
Bolivia’s U.N. Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz echoed Rosselli, saying the resolution could not be seen as “support or endorsement for the use of force.”
Nigerian fighter jets were flying over The Gambia’s capital and ground troops have so far not being met with resistance.
Gambian defense and security forces were urged to demonstrate maximum restraint to maintain an atmosphere of calm. The Security Council stresses the Gambia’s army’s duty and obligation to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities.
This week, Jammeh declared a state of emergency and parliament extended his 22-year rule by three months.
It did not stop Barrow from making good on his promise to be sworn-in on Thursday and authorizing ECOWAS troops to enter the country flush Jammeh out.
Thousands of Gambians have fled to Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest.
A former coup leader who has ruled the small West African country since 1994, Jammeh initially conceded defeat but a week later contested the poll’s results stating irregularities.