Gambian Gov’t Attempts to Prevent Ex-President Yaya Jammeh’s Return

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Yahya Jammeh, the self-exiled former president of The Gambia who left the country three years ago after an election loss, has announced plans to return home. The deputy spokesman for Jammeh’s political party, Ousman Rambo Jatta released several audio recordings of conversations between Jammeh and a top party official to the media in which Mr Jammeh expressed his desire to return home.

The current gov’t has however warned that they can not guarantee his safety if he returns home. The government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh told BBC that “If former President Jammeh insists in coming to this country without the permission of The Gambia government, he is doing so at his own will and that The Gambia government can’t guarantee that,”.

The former president however insists that under the January 2017 agreement signed with ECOWAS and the African union that led to his leaving the country for Equatorial Guinea he has the right to return The Gambia according to international human rights law and his right a citizen and former president of The Gambia. The government spokesman however denies any knowledge of such agreement. Regardless, Jammel’s party interim leader insist “He is on his way …. He can be here anytime” and adds that any attempt to arrest him may lead to bloodshed

In that recording, the ousted leader, who ruled Gambia for 22 years, is heard voicing his support for a demonstration by his supporters planned for 16 January. “I don’t want any violence and I don’t want anybody to touch anything or to destroy anything,” Mr Jammeh said. His party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party is planning protests calling for the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to follow through on their commitment to ensure Jammeh could return to Gambia. “Nobody will dare to arrest him” he stated

HE Adama Barrow, President of The Gambia

Elections are scheduled to be held next year and current president, Adama Barrow who according to earlier agreement should step down after a 3-year transition period, has indicated that he will be seeking re-election.

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