Soldiers in Gambia streets amid peaceful transition calls

2016-12-12 06:05
Yahya Jammeh. (File: AFP)

Yahya Jammeh. (File: AFP)

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Dakar - Soldiers stood watch on streets in Gambia's capital and surrounding area on Sunday, as most residents went about ordinary life despite worries after their longtime leader said he would not accept election results that would force him to step down after 22 years in power.

International and regional bodies and governments joined together in calls over the weekend for a peaceful transition in the tiny West African country of about 1.9 million people that is almost completely surrounded by Senegal.

Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh initially conceded defeat after Gambians voted in president-elect Adama Barrow on December 1. However on Friday Jammeh announced that he no longer accepted the election results and called for another vote, saying there were irregularities.

Jammeh's ruling APRC party said late Saturday that it will follow up Jammeh's rejection of the election results by filing a petition to the Supreme Court. By law, election results can be contested up to 10 days after the vote.

Gambia's president-elect Barrow said on Saturday that Jammeh has no constitutional authority to invalidate the vote, or to call for a new one, and called on him for a smooth handover of power in the interest of the country's peace and stability.

Senegal's president Macky Sall joined a chorus of calls for Jammeh to respect election results and step down peacefully in Gambia, where tens of thousands of Senegalese reside.

Senegal's foreign ministry, the United Nations Security Council, West Africa's regional bloc and Gambia's diaspora community have all called on Jammeh to respect the Gambian people's choice, and on security forces and others to exercise restraint, remain calm and avoid violence.

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

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