Gambia’s President Adama Barrow will be in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where he will be meeting with regional leaders that helped him assume the West African nation’s presidency.
The new leader will be in Monrovia to attend his first regional meeting with West African leaders during the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit this weekend.
Barrow had visited at least four West African nations to thank their leaders for their role in helping to end decades-long dictatorship in his country.
Barrow, a political novice, who was little-known to his people shockingly defeated longtime Gambian strongman, Yahya Jammeh in last year’s election.
Jammeh accepted defeat but made a political fumble a week later refusing to step aside sparking the fury of regional leaders who had for long wanted him gone.
“Jammeh was not just a security threat to the region, he was a thorn in the flesh of West African leaders, especially Senegal’s. You can tell they were determined for him to go, especially after he childishly recorded and televised his call with Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,” said SMBC political affairs analyst, Sam Phatey.
West African leaders didn’t hide their intention to oust Jammeh by using force. ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza had repeatedly stated force will be used if necessary.
When news broke that Jammeh hired Ivorian and former Liberian fighters to help him remain in power, Nigeria sent its newest warship to the waters of The Gambia.
West African leaders scrambled fighter jets and a force of 7,000 troops to take over the Gambia’s capital, depose Jammeh and install Mr. Barrow as president.
A last-minute diplomatic effort by Guinean and Mauritanian leaders got Jammeh fleeing the country to Equatorial Guinea, where he has now taken up farming as his new job.
At least 4,000 West African forces, mainly from Senegal remain in The Gambia to secure government officials and state properties.
Normalcy has returned to Banjul but security remains very fragile amid political clashes, tribal skirmishes and reports that Jammeh has his loyalists embedded into the Gambian army.
An incident between West African troops that left two Gambian soldiers guarding Jammeh’s abandoned compound wounded was de-escalated after authorities downplayed it as “misunderstanding.”
Gambia’s army is undergoing reforms with the new administration hoping to rebuild broken relations it has with the public. Human rights activists have accused the army of human rights abuses.