Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow, has confirmed that President Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down and hand over power. Barrow took to his Twitter handle to announce Jammeh’s decision.
This came after a delegation of West African leaders left Gambia’s presidential residence where they had sought to convince Mr. Jammeh, who lost a December presidential poll, to step down and go into exile.
Mauritania’s president Abdel Aziz, who among the delegation in the last-ditch diplomatic effort in the Gambian capital, Banjul, to persuade the incumbent to step down, supported by Guinea’s Alpha Condé and the UN’s regional chief, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, confirmed to the Guardian after 12 hours of talks that an agreement had been reached. “There is a deal,” he said, adding that the outgoing president will travel very soon.
Jammeh Yahya later appeared on Gambian state TV to announce he is stepping down.
He said: “I believe in the importance of dialogue … I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of this great nation.
“All the issues we currently face can be resolved peacefully. I believe in the capacity of Africans to decide for themselves all the issues on the way to democracy, social and economic development.
“My prayer and desire [is] that peace and security continue to reign in The Gambia.” The country “must jealously guard and defend” peace.”
After a 22-year rule Jammeh lost last month’s election but ignored multiple deadlines to quit. Earlier this week he imposed a state of emergency in a final attempt to hang on to power.
Few days before Barrow’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, Nigeria, leading the mediation, sent in troops, making a strong statement about ECOWAS’ decision to involve military force. The troops and other West African troops had entered the Gambia but have halted their advance.
Internationally recognized President Adama Barrow will, however, remain in Senegal until operation over.