Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Saturday evening finally boarded a flight and left The Gambia with Guniean President Alpha Conde. They are believed to be heading for the Guinean capital, Conakry.
Jammeh in his usual white apparel was seen waving at a group of people who had gathered at the airport as he entered the plane. Some reports also indicate that Jammeh will proceed from Conakry to Equatorial Guinea.
It is not clear which other members of his entourage left with him but journalists stationed at the Banjul International airport also reported that supporters of Jammeh were seen grieving his departure.
Jammeh who has ruled the West African country for over two decades lost the last presidential polls to estate developer and opposition candidate Adama Barrow. He accepted the results but later rejected them citing irregularities.
Barrow confirmed the departure of Jammeh, “I would like to inform you that the 2nd President of the Republic of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia,” a message on his Twitter handle read.
To avert a looming political crisis, the regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tried to mediate in the crisis but the two attempts by the group ended inconclusively.
The latest round of mediation with Jammeh was brokered by Guinean President Alpha Conde and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz – the terms of the agreement remain unknown for now.
Jammeh’s tenure ended on January 19, the same day Barrow was scheduled to take office. But a state of emergency declared by Jammeh with the support of the legislature could not allow the event to be held in Banjul.
ECOWAS arranged for Barrow to be sworn in at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal, where Barrow was staying. He flew out with ECOWAS mediators to Mali for the France-Africa summit before returning to Senegal.