Gambian leader Jammeh leaves power after 22 year
International: Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh flew out Saturday from the country he ruled for 22 years to cede power to President Adama Barrow and end a political crisis.
Jammeh refused to step down after a December 1 election in which Barrow was declared the winner, triggering weeks of uncertainty that almost ended in a military intervention involving five other West African nations.
The longtime leader, wearing his habitual white flowing robes, waved to supporters before boarding a small, unmarked plane at Banjul airport alongside Guinea’s President Alpha Conde after two days of talks over a departure deal.
He landed in Conakry, Guinea’s capital but set off again for Equatorial Guinea, where he will remain in exile, the president of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel Alain de Souza, said at a Dakar press conference.
‘No legislative measures’ would be taken that would infringe the ‘dignity, security, safety and rights’ of Jammeh or his family, ECOWAS said in a joint declaration with the African Union and United Nations.
Jammeh could return to The Gambia when he pleased, the statement added, and property ‘lawfully’ belonging to him would not be seized.
Jammeh finally said he would step aside in the early hours of Saturday morning and hand power to Barrow, who has been in neighbouring Senegal but is expected back in The Gambia imminently.
‘I call on President Barrow to come in immediately and take over the supreme responsibility of president, head of state, commander in chief and first citizen of our republic,’ Jammeh said, according to remarks read out on state television before he left the country.