…Mauritania President in last ditch effort to save situation
As West African troops mass at the Senegal-Gambia border at the expiration of Yahya Jammeh’s tenure, Gambian Army Chief, Ousman Badjie, said he would not involve his soldiers in a fight with ECOWAS forces as the matter at hand was a political dispute.
Gambia’s Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, resigned earlier on Wednesday joining eight cabinet ministers who resigned this month. With the development, Yahya Jammeh is isolated.
There are also unconfirmed reports that ECOWAS forces have entered Gambia through Farafenni without any resistance from Gambian troops. Other reports say the soldiers are joining ECOWAS troops.
President-elect, Adama Barrow is due to be sworn in at the Gambia Embassy in Senegal.
I would like to inform you that the Inauguration Ceremony is going to take place at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. #Gambia, Barrow tweeted.
“We have confirmation. It is veryIMPORTANT
to us that he will be sworn in today. Then we can make arrangements for him to go back to Gambia,” Isatou Toure, a senior Barrow aide, told Reuters. The ceremony is due to take place at 1600 GMT.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz flew to Senegal to meet with President Macky Sall after last-ditch talks in Gambia aimed at resolving a crisis over the transfer of presidential powers, a Senegalese presidential source told Reuters on Thursday.
However Gambian army chief Ousman Badjie said his troops would not fight Senegalese forces should they enter into the country, AFP news agency reports.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily, this is a political dispute,” he said. “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men”, Badjie said.
Badjie heads an army of 2, 500 soldiers.
President-elect, Adama Barrow is billed to be sworn in at an undisclosed location after an initial plan to swear him in at the Gambian Stadium was shelved. Barrow is still in Senegal.
Col Abdou Ndiaye, a spokesman for the Senegalese military, said Ecowas had decided on the deadline to try to achieve a diplomatic solution.
The Ecowas force is seeking UN Security Council endorsement to use “all necessary measures” to help remove Mr Jammeh, BBC reports.
Nigeria has sent an aircraft, a warship and 200 personnel while Ghana has sent 200 troops to Senegal while Mali and Togo have contributed troops.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has dispatched a contingent of 200 men, as well as an aviation fleet comprising combat aircraft, cargo ships, a helicopter and a surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft in Dakar,” The NAF spokesperson, Ayodele Famuyiwa, said in a statement issued in Abuja.
Over 26,000 Gambians have fled to Senegal to avoid being caught up in a fire fight while UK and Dutch tourists have continued to be evacuated.