Gambia's Barrow demands army loyalty after swearing in

2017-01-19 22:07
Adama Barrow. (File: AFP)

Adama Barrow. (File: AFP)

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Dakar - The Gambia's new president, Adama Barrow, took the oath of office in the country's embassy in Senegal on Thursday and immediately called on the security forces to "demonstrate their loyalty" in his standoff with defeated leader Yahya Jammeh.

Barrow, 51, was sworn in days after seeking shelter in Dakar, with Jammeh still refusing to stand down after losing a December election despite international pressure.

Senegal's army had warned it would intervene in The Gambia if Jammeh had refused to leave office by the end of his mandate at midnight on Wednesday, with a regional African force massed on the border.

"I command the chief of defence staff and officers of high command to demonstrate their loyalty to me as commander-in-chief without any delay," Barrow said.

"I command all members of the armed forces to remain in their barracks, those found wanting or in possession of firearms without my order will be considered rebels."

Barrow, an opposition coalition candidate, won the December 1 election in a surprise victory over Jammeh, who had ruled the former British colony with an iron fist for more than two decades.

"This is a day no Gambian will ever forget," he said.

"This is a victory of the Gambian nation. Our flag will now fly high among those of the most democratic nations of the world."

A small, narrow enclave of Senegal except for its coast, The Gambia is the smallest country on the African continent.

It has been ruled by Jammeh for 22 years, an era marked by chronic poverty and human-rights abuse.

Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  adama barrow  |  gambia  |  gambia 2016 elections  |  west africa

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