The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has halted a joint military operation on Thursday for final mediation talks with immediate past Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who has refused to step down.
Jammeh has been given until Friday noon to cede power or face military operation to remove him from the country’s seat of government and install the new President Adama Barrow, Head of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza told the media.
The final mediation mission on Friday will be led by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and other African leaders including Presidents of Liberia, Mauritania and officials of the United Nations.
Jammeh will not be allowed to stay in The Gambia and if mediation is successful, he will travel to Guinea and then choose a country of exile, de Souza said, adding that ECOWAS is open to possible amnesty for Jammeh as part of the deal.
It was agreed that the new President Adama Barrow will not return to the country until the 7000-men joint military operation ends.
The decision to engage in a final mediation followed a reported strike by the ECOWAS force after entering the country Thursday evening.
Senegalese army spokesperson Colonel Abdou Ndiaye confirmed the strike in a statement without giving details, Reuters reported.
President Adama Barrow gains international supportUN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on the new President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, to express his support after the Security Council backed ECOWAS’ intervention.
He expressed supported for the decision of ECOWAS and deep concern at the refusal of Yahya Jammeh to surrender power.
The United States also supported the ECOWAS military intervention describing it as important to stabilize a tense situation in The Gambia.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma congratulated Adama Barrow and hoped that Yahya Jammeh will “in the interest of The Gambia, bow out peacefully in accordance with the constitution.
I hope that the former President Yahya Jammeh will, in the interest of #TheGambia, bow out peacefully, in accordance with the Constitution.— Dr Dlamini Zuma (@DlaminiZuma) January 19, 2017
“I will be inviting President Adama Barrow to attend the upcoming 28th AU Summit taking place on 30-31 Jan 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” she added.