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The Gambia: Yahya Jammeh Finally Steps Down

Africa’s strongman Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia finally gives up power and leaves the country in exile. This comes after intense negotiations with the Presidents of Guinea H. E. Alpha Conde and Mauritania H. E. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Mr. Jammeh previously refused to stand down from power after losing the elections last December to newly sworn leader Adama Barrow. He had been in power for 22 years.

In a dramatic fashion, Mr. Jammeh who previously conceded defeat after the elections reversed his position the following day by challenging the results citing irregularities by the electoral commission. He faced criticism from world leaders and refused to step down despite visits from several world leaders including a delegation led by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Yahya Jammeh boards a flight to Guinea

Yahya Jammeh boards a flight to Guinea (Courtesy of Getty Images)

The latest development comes as a relieve to West African leaders, some of whom sent military personnel to The Gambia in coalition with Senegal to force Jammeh out of power if he refused to leave voluntarily. In a televised speech on the stave TV, Mr. Jammeh said it is “not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed.” He added

I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with all gratitude to all Gambians.

It is believed that he will go into exile in Equatorial Guinea, but will first spend some time in the Republic of Guinea. Details of the negotiations for his departure have not been made public.

President Adama Barrow is set to return to The Gambia

President Adama Barrow is set to return to The Gambia to resume his presidency.

His exit has paved way for newly sworn-in leader Adama Barrow who fled to neighboring Senegal to return to Banjul, the country’s capital. Mr. Barrow previously stated that the outgoing president will not be prosecuted for accusations of alleged human rights violations but rather, a Truth and Reconciliation commission will be established to look into the allegations.

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