Monday, January 16, 2017
Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow posing in his office in Serekunda on December 11, 2016. Senegalese President Macky Sall accepted a request to host Barrow in Dakar. PHOTO | AFP
The Gambia's president-elect Adama Barrow landed in neighbouring Senegal Sunday where he will remain until his planned inauguration this week, Senegalese sources said, following an agreement with west African leaders.
The president-elect is due to take power on January 19 when President Yahya Jammeh's mandate runs out, but the long-serving strongman has refused to cede power after disputing the result of a December 1 election won by Barrow.
Senegalese President Macky Sall accepted a request to host Barrow in Dakar "until his inauguration", the official APS agency said citing an official.
"Barrow is in Dakar as of Sunday, just after midnight," the official told APS.
"The Senegalese president accepted the request of his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) president," it added.
A source in the Senegalese presidency confirmed to AFP that Barrow was in Dakar following consultations with heads of state from the Ecowas at a Bamako summit.
Ecowas, a 15-nation bloc, has repeatedly called on Jammeh to respect the result of the vote and leave after 22 years in power.
Barrow flew into the Malian capital as a surprise guest at the Africa-France summit after talks broke down Friday between a three-nation west African delegation and Jammeh.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Sirleaf and Ghana's ex-president John Mahama have appealed to Jammeh to step down twice in person, without success.
The leaders of at least 30 nations had gathered in Bamako to discuss jihad on the continent and Africa's impact on the European migrant crisis — but The Gambia's political impasse dominated events.
The spectre of a military intervention has arisen in recent days following declarations by the United Nations and African Union that boots on the ground could get the green light without a rapid resolution of the crisis.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said on Friday that Ecowas would ask the Security Council to approve the deployment of troops to The Gambia if Jammeh continues to refuse to leave office.
Ecowas has made clear in the past that force will not be ruled out as a last resort, but the Nigerian army has denied reports it is preparing troops for a Gambian intervention.
There are just three days left of Jammeh's five-year term, and he has warned the international community against "undue external interference".
Jammeh has said he will not stand aside until the country's Supreme Court decides on his legal challenge seeking to annul the result of last month's polls, which he had initially conceded losing.
The ruling however is unlikely to happen before May.