Gambia's turbulent transfer of power: How it happened

Yahya Jammeh (File: AFP)
Yahya Jammeh (File: AFP)

Banjul - Gambia's new president is finally arriving in the country, a week after taking the oath of office abroad amid a whirlwind political crisis.

Here's a look at the tumble of events that led to Adama Barrow's return - and the exile of the country's longtime leader.

December 2: President Yahya Jammeh shocks nation by accepting election defeat to Barrow: "Allah is telling me my time is up."

December 9: Jammeh announces he no longer accepts defeat as critics raise possibility of prosecuting him for alleged abuses under his rule: "I hereby reject the results in totality."

December 23: West African regional leaders say they will order a military intervention if Jammeh doesn't leave. "The deadline is January 19, when the mandate of Jammeh expires," says the bloc's president, Marcel de Souza.

January 17: Jammeh declares a state of emergency and blames "unlawful and malicious interference" by the international community.

January 18: Gambia's parliament votes to extend Jammeh's term by three months, while regional forces vows to move in at midnight.

January 19: Barrow is sworn in at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, where he has gone for his safety. "Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world," Barrow says. But Jammeh refuses to budge. A Senegalese military spokesperson says the first regional troops cross into Gambia.

January 20: Gambia's defense chief pledges allegiance to Barrow. "We don't see any reason to fight," Ousmane Badjie says. A Senegalese government official says Jammeh agrees to cede power.

January 21: Jammeh announces he has decided to relinquish power: "I think it is not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed." Barrow tells the AP he will launch a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the alleged abuses of Jammeh's 22-year regime.

Late January 21: Jammeh flies into exile in Equatorial Guinea and life returns to the streets of Gambia's capital. "It's New Year's Eve in Gambia! We are just about to start a new democratic Gambia," says resident Momodou Janneh.

January 22: An adviser to Barrow says Jammeh stole millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, shipping out luxury vehicles by cargo plane. "The coffers are virtually empty," Mai Ahmad Fatty says.

January 25: Officials confirm that Barrow will return to Gambia the next day.

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