Gambia’s erstwhile President Yahya Jammeh said he has dissolved his government and would be announcing a new cabinet after his term expired on Thursday.
Jammeh’s announcement came after a majority of his cabinet ministers, including his long-serving Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy abandoned him at the dying hours of his regime.
The troubled former leader lost elections last month and refusing to step down. More than eight of his ministers have resigned and left the country since.
West African troops led by Senegal have been deployed to oust Jammeh and install Barrow, who was sworn-in Thursday but yet to announce his cabinet.
By evening, the troops had not yet appeared in Banjul, the Gambian capital, according to residents, but news of their deployment had spread. Gambians poured into the streets in support of the Senegal-led forces and Jammeh’s ouster.
ECOWAS dubbed their intervention Operation “Restoration of Democracy” and said it would involve air, land and sea units.
More than 26,000 Gambians have fled to Senegal and thousands more to Guinea-Bissau.
The U.N. Security Council on Thursday backed ECOWAS’s efforts to ensure Barrow assumes power, and the United States said it supported ECOWAS intervention.
Jammeh had been in power since a 1994 coup and his mandate ended overnight. He initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting from Washington Post and Reuters; Editing by Alhagie Jobe)