AS IT HAPPENED: Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down and leave The Gambia'

2017-01-20 20:20

Get the latest details as outgoing president Yahya Jammeh has been given a final ultimatum to relinquish power after regional troops entered The Gambia.


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Last Updated at 14:15
20 Jan 21:00

Al Jazeera: Gambia's new president has said that Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years and refused to step down after losing the recent election, has finally "agreed to leave".

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Adama Barrow said Jammeh would also leave the country.

"I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia," he tweeted.

20 Jan 20:50
Gambia's new President Adama Barrow says outgoing leader Yahya Jammeh "has agreed to step down", Al Jazeera reports.

20 Jan 20:08

AP: Gambia's newly inaugurated leader has prayed for peace in the country he has yet to return to.

The Twitter account run by supporters of Adama Barrow posted a photo Friday evening of Barrow praying with Senegal President Macky Sall.

"We prayed for peace in Gambia," the tweet says.Barrow was sworn in Thursday at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, where he has been for several days amid fears for his safety.

20 Jan 20:06

LATEST FROM AP: Red carpets have been laid out at the airport in Gambia's capital in what appears to be preparations for a speech and a departure.

West African leaders have been meeting with defeated leader Yahya Jammeh in an effort to persuade him to cede power to newly inaugurated leader Adama Barrow.

A regional force is poised to push him out if talks fail. The red carpets are laid out for a wooden podium and for the Mauritanian plane that brought the leaders to Banjul.

20 Jan 19:56
Meanwhile Barrow has hinted in his latest tweet that he could be on the move.

20 Jan 19:53

BBC reports that Banjul airport is getting ready for departing presidents. It's left to be seen whether Jammeh is with them. 

20 Jan 19:26

France24 journalist Nicolas Germain has tweeted that Jammeh is currently writing a statement in which he accepts to leave, according to Guinea offcials.

20 Jan 19:18
Barrow has told Sky News that he will shortly assume power and that he and considers the UK to be his country's number one trading partner.

20 Jan 19:04
Kenya has issued a statement to recognise Barrow.

20 Jan 18:41

20 Jan 18:19

Meanwhile, the tiny west African country’s army chief General Ousman Badjie has told Reuters news agency that he saw internationally recognised President Adama Barrow as the new commander-and-chief and would not fight a regional force poised to depose Yahya Jammeh.

"We are going to welcome them with flowers and make them a cup of tea.

This is a political problem. It's a misunderstanding. We are not going to fight Nigerian, Togolese or any military that comes."

20 Jan 18:17
Reports says Jammeh seems to have his "own ideas" and is likely to make a public statement.

20 Jan 18:16

The 16:00 dealine for Jammeh to leave office has passed. It had initially been put at 12 noon earlier in the day.

The Mauritanian and Guinean presidents are at the state house in Banjul to try and persuade Jammeh to leave the country with him, BBC says. 

20 Jan 17:12

See below is a statement issued by the Department of International Relations And Co-opertaion in which South Africa congratulates President Adama Barrow following his inauguration on Thursday.  

The South African Government has congratulated President Adama Barrow following his swearing in as the new President of The Gambia, on 19 January 2017 at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

In this regard, South Africa recognises President Adama Barrow as the legitimate President of The Gambia and looks forward to a close working relationship with him and the people of The Gambia, to build and strengthen our bilateral relations.

South Africa commends sterling efforts made by the international community, spearheaded by ECOWAS, the AU and the UNSC in the quest to finding a lasting and peaceful resolution of the political crisis in The Gambia.

The South African Government calls on and urges former President Yahya Jammeh to cooperate with ECOWAS, and should step down peacefully.

In conclusion, the South African Government expressed its hope that President Adama Barrow returns to his country to assume the role democratically bestowed on him by the people of The Gambia. 

20 Jan 16:24

A Dakar bases journalist has just tweeted that he spoke to Adama Barrow who maintain that Jammeh should "just leave". 

Barrow had initially indicated that there was no need for Jammeh to go into exile and that he would not be prosecuted.

20 Jan 16:22

AFP reports: Vultures circled the deserted streets of Banjul on Friday morning, with the usual heavy military presence near absent.

"If they (foreign troops) come we will just stay in our homes and let them take him. If I had the chance I would apprehend him myself. He's messed up our lives," one Banjul resident told AFP under condition of anonymity.

20 Jan 16:21

AFP reports: As white flags reportedly flew from Gambian army posts in the countryside, tectonic shifts were said to be under way among the military elite, pointing to a gradual acceptance of Barrow, even among units known for loyalty to Jammeh.

A diplomatic source said a faction had "switched sides" among the elite Republican Guards who assure Jammeh's personal protection, following meetings among themselves at their Bakau barracks close to Banjul.

Gambian army chief Ousman Badjie was seen celebrating Barrow's inauguration late Thursday and had already declared he would not order his men to fight for Jammeh.

Soldiers were told by Barrow in his inauguration speech they would be considered rebel elements if they remained armed on the streets, and the few that remained on Thursday did not attempt to stop the spontaneous celebrations that broke out in Barrow's stronghold districts.

20 Jan 16:19

AFP reports: Gambia's Yahya Jammeh faced a "last chance saloon" deadline to step down as troops from five African nations stood by for action and key regional leaders flew in to make a final plea.

Mauritania's Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Guinea's Alpha Conde told reporters hope remained for a political resolution to the country's handover crisis as they left for Banjul from Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital.

"We still have every chance for a peaceful solution," Aziz said. "We have every interest in achieving that, we have enough conflicts in Africa going on without adding another." Conde said a political solution "must be found" before boarding their flight.

20 Jan 16:11

20 Jan 16:10
Journalists in Gambia are tweeting pictures that show a calm situation at the state house and the capital Banjul.

20 Jan 16:03
Jammeh has asked for an extension of the deadline to stand down to be extended to 16:00 local time (16:00 GMT). - BBC 

20 Jan 14:46

Senegalese soldiers are patrolling near a camp of the Red Cross in Karang, Senegal, near the border with The Gambia. 

Picture by AFP

20 Jan 14:35
Journalists in Gambia say Mauritania's Aziz, Guinea's Conde, together with the UN's Chambas are on their way to Jammeh at State House for a last-last-ditch attempt.

20 Jan 14:34

20 Jan 14:19

20 Jan 14:18

20 Jan 14:10
Reuters news agency says Ecowas Regional West African forces will wait for talks between Yahya Jammeh and the Mauritanian and Guinean presidents to take place before resuming their military operation. 

20 Jan 14:09

The deadline for Jammeh to step down has now passed. 

Reports indicate that Ecowas forces will have to extend their noon deadline for Jammeh to step down, as the Mauritania, Liberia and Guniean Presidents are only said to be leaving the Mauritania capital now.  

20 Jan 14:03

20 Jan 13:59
Reports say Jammeh remains holed up at the State House with a coterie of Presidential guards

20 Jan 13:44

20 Jan 13:15
Everyone is anxiously waiting to hear what Jammeh would tell the preidents of Guinea, but according to BBC, the head of the Ecowas commission Marcel de Souza, has suggested Mr Jammeh could be flown to Guinea before deciding on his fate. 

20 Jan 13:09

Reports indicate that officials in Guinea are currently at the airport in Banjul, where the red carpet is in place, as they wait for presidents of Guinea and Mauritania to land.

According to BBC, the city itself is calm, with shops and businesses still closed. 

20 Jan 12:21

According to AFP: More than 45 000 people have fled a political crisis in The Gambia this month.

"Around 45,000 people are now reported to have arrived in Senegal from The Gambia," the UN refugee agency said, adding that another "800 people have crossed into Guinea-Bissau."

20 Jan 12:11
Reports on Friday indicated that Jammeh dissolved his cabinet last night following mass resignations and "plans to oversee all government ministries himself as he clings to power" - BBC

20 Jan 11:55

Meanwhile, BBC reports that Jammeh has defied west African leaders because he believes his army will fight for him, according to former Gambian foreign minister Sidath Diop.

Diop, however, maintained that Jammeh "commands little loyalty in the armed forces".

Jammeh believes he "owns The Gambia" Diop was quoted as saying, adding that the outgoing president did not know how to respond to the looming end of his reign. 

20 Jan 11:35

Footage Jammeh’s army chief Ousman Badjie dancing on the streets with Gambian citizens following the inauguration of Barrow has emerged on social media. 

Badjie is the same man who pledged loyalty to Jammeh after he contested the election result. 

20 Jan 11:26

News24: Questions have been raised concerning the legality of the swearing-in of Barrow as president. Would you perhaps want to elucidate on that?

Wormington: Obviously Barrow has advisers who would advise him correctly. But otherwise from an academic perspective, Barrow is indeed Gambia's legitimate president. 

20 Jan 11:20

News24: So now The Gambia is an awkward situation where it has "two presidents". Just how feasible is it going to be for Barrow to execute his duties for now?

Wormington: It's not really a case of two presidents. Jammeh is no longer a president. What we have now is just conflict. It's now just a long and protracted crisis, which is going to make it difficult for barrow to exercise his command. 

But we will see after the talks today what decision Ecowas is going to take.

20 Jan 11:14
Wormington said it was hard to speculate why Jammeh was clinging to power but "he has been in power for 22 years so definitely it's not easy for him to transfer power democratically. He is also known to have been involved in long term human rights abuses. So he fears for his future". 

20 Jan 11:11

Wormington said it was "remarkable" from a logistical perspective that Jammeh still "hasn't stepped down yet" despite efforts by Ecowas to try and persuade him to realise that it's time for him to go.

"We are really at the 'injur time' and he (Jammeh) must realise that Ecowas is a credible force"

20 Jan 11:04

Human Rights Watch's West Africa researcher, Jim Wormington, who is currently in Senegal has told News24's Africa editor Betha Madhomu during an interview that the crisis in Gambia has "come to a head", particularly after the inauguration of Barrow on Thursday.

"The crisis has actually come to a head, with the inauguration of Adama Barrow yesterday and Yahya Jammeh still refusing to step down. We hope that the talks today, that include Guinea's Alpha Conde, in trying to convince him (Jammeh) to step down will reach a positive conclusion," Wormington said.  


20 Jan 09:59

Nigeria's Daily Post reports that Barrow has returned to The Gambia after his inauguration in Dakar, Senegal. 

He had been in Dakar for several days at the request of west African leaders.

20 Jan 09:53
Unconfirmed reports say Jammeh dissolved the remainder of his cabinet on Thursday, following mass resignations 

20 Jan 09:49
According to reports, Jammeh disappeared as military forces of the Economic Community of West African States entered the country from Senegal.

20 Jan 09:21

Reports on Friday said that the whereabouts of Jammeh remained unknown, as military forces of Ecowas crossed from Senegal into Gambia.

Long convoys of military vehicles with armed soldiers entered the troubled nation through the border town of Karang, a resident was quoted as saying. 

20 Jan 09:01

20 Jan 09:01

The United States earlier said that it backs a West African intervention in The Gambia to restore elected rule, but that it had not been asked to provide military support.

Forces from Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria have mobilised in support of the Ecowas regional bloc's demand that The Gambia's long-time leader Jammeh step down.

"We do support it, and we're in touch with officials in Senegal," State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, adding that the US support is diplomatic.

"We understand that the purpose is to help stabilize a tense situation and to try to observe the will of the people in the Gambia," he added.

Kirby noted that the US Embassy in Banjul is closed except for emergency services and that any American citizens who have not been able to leave should stay indoors.

"We urge them to carefully evaluate the security situation before attempting to resolve any normal activities," he said.

20 Jan 09:01

Cape Town - Regional bloc Ecowas has given Yahya Jammeh a final chance to step down after regional troops entered The Gambia on Thursday to bolster the west African country’s new president, Adama Barrow.

West African leaders said Jammeh, who lost elections last month, had until midday Friday to hand over power and agree to leave the country or face military action.

Troops have been told to halt their advance until the deadline passes. "We have suspended operations and given him an ultimatum," said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States.

"If by midday, he doesn't agree to leave The Gambia...we really will intervene militarily," he added. Final talks will be led by Guinean president Alpha Conde in the Gambian capital Banjul on Friday morning, according to de Souza.

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