Gambian refugees and asylum seekers in neighboring Senegal are being repatriated two months after a new government took over power, the UN Refugee Agency said.
Many of the Gambian expatriates, mostly in Dakar, Senegal’s capital are politicians, journalists, rights activists and former military officers accused of coups.
At least 12 coups to oust autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh failed. A wave of crack downs followed, especially after a botched attempt in 2014. Dozens of family members and friends of those accused of taking part in the coup were arrested and tens forced to flee.
Jammeh suffered defeat in the hands of opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow. Barrow took power ending a two-month standoff that nearly threw the country into a civil war.
More than 75,000 people fled the country and at least 50,000 people, among them a handful of exiled journalists have since returned.
The victory of opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the December 2016 presidential election brought hope for improved respect for human rights and the rule of law.
His government faces enormous challenges to rebuild the country’s broken economy and long-neglected institutions. Key issues include providing justice to victims of Jammeh-era abuses, reforming the security services, and rebuilding the judiciary.