A Chadian government cargo plane is in Gambia to transport tens of premium vehicles and luxuries that former dictator Yahya Jammeh says he purportedly owns, a clear looting of state resources.
The vehicles include scores of Rolls-Royce Phantoms and Cadillac Escalates for Jammeh’s personal use.
Jammeh came to power with less than $5 in his personal account but is now worth an estimated US$1.8 billion. He owns a US$3.5 mansion outside Washington and in France, Morocco, Guinea and Eastern Europe. He has businesses in Morocco and in Gulf states of UAE and Qatar.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow authorized the temporary closure of the airspace to prevent the cargo plane from landing, said Mai Ahmad Fatty, a senior advisor to the president.
It is unknown under what terms the plane was allowed to land and have Mr. Jammeh’s vehicles and other luxuries loaded but there were efforts by ECOWAS President Marcel Souza and the Qatari envoy who met with Barrow to discuss a draft regional agreement with President Barrow.
Former President Jammeh left Banjul on Saturday after Barrow rejected the proposal and threatened to unpause the ECOWAS force push to dislodge and arrest Jammeh.
Troops from several West African nations, including Senegal, had been deployed in The Gambia, threatening to drive Mr. Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go.
President Barrow is currently in Senegal where he is held up over security concerns without a cabinet. He is not yet is control of government institutions.
Jammeh took off in an unmarked plane heading for an unspecified destination, seen off by a delegation of dignitaries and soldiers.
Jammeh had arrived at the airport in the capital Banjul on Saturday in the company of mediator Alpha Conde.