People in the streets of Gambian capital Banjul were optimistic of change on Friday, a day after President Adama Barrow returned to the country.
Barrow was welcomed by thousands of people lining the streets as he returned from Senegal, after authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh fled into exile under pressure from regional forces.
Businessman Paul Kutubo said he wanted the country to experience peace under Barrow
Truly we have a lot of hope in Barrow because all Yahya Jammeh did was kill people. He wasted the country's money and tarnished our religion.
“Truly we have a lot of hope in Barrow because all Yahya Jammeh did was kill people. He wasted the country’s money and tarnished our religion. He destroyed everything. We know Barrow well. He will be able to lead the country well. The many people who fled the country have returned. We pray for ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), but especially thank the people of Senegal and the Senegalese President Macky Sall because he played a big role in this,” he added.
Another resident, Basiru Gii, thanked Senegal for the intervention, after regional leaders helped thrash out a deal for Jammeh to fly to exile in Equatorial Guinea.
“Everybody is happy. Jammeh was a loser, and we drove him away. Both old and young welcomed our leader yesterday, and now Gambia is free. For 22 years we had hardship, but now everybody is free and we know the economy will grow soon,” Gii said.
Barrow won the election in December, but Jammeh had refused to step down, forcing his opponent to be inaugurated at the Gambian Embassy in neighbouring Senegal.