E Guinea president vows to 'protect' exiled Gambian leader

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

Malabo - Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has said he will "protect" former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh who has been living in exile in the central African country after being forced to quit power last year, adding that the African Union also opposed his extradition.

Jammeh, who came to power in a military coup in 1994, was forced from power after losing a democratic election.

He is suspected of having pocketed $50m, in addition to committing human rights abuses during a brutal 22-year rule.

"I believe that the stance of protecting former heads of state is a correct one," Obiang said late on Friday after meeting with African Union leader Alpha Conde, who is also Guinea's president.

"I hail Alpha Conde who told me he will not accept any demand for Yahya Jammeh's extradition. Even I will not accept it.

"We are in full agreement that Yahya Jammeh must be protected. He must be respected as a former African leader. Because this is a guarantee for other African leaders that they will not be harassed after they leave power," said Obiang, who has ruled his country with an iron fist since 1979.

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