Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2017 Contents world A27
Thursday, January 19, 2017 guardian.co.tt
The Gambia's parliament
extends Jammeh's term
The Gambia's parliament has
extended President Yahya Jam-
meh's term, which is due to end
today following his defeat in elec-
tions, by 90 days.
It also approved his decision to
declare a 90-day state of emergency.
Senegalese troops have reportedly
moved towards The Gambian bor-
der ahead of possible intervention
to force Jammeh to hand power to
President-elect Adama Barrow.
Thousands of UK and Dutch tour-
ists are being evacuated from The
The tiny West African state is pop-
ular with European holidaymakers
because of its beaches.
The Gambia was plunged into cri-
sis after Jammeh rejected Barrow's
shock victory in the 1 December
In a televised announcement on
Tuesday, Mr Jammeh said "any acts
of disobedience to the laws of The
Gambia, incitement of violence and
acts intended to disturb public order
and peace" were banned under the
state of emergency.
He said security forces were in-
structed to "maintain absolute peace,
law and order."
A Senegalese military source said
they were "very seriously" preparing
for military action in The Gambia,
Reuters news agency reports.
Residents in two towns in south-
ern Senegal told the agency they
had seen columns of troops heading
for the border.
Regional bloc Ecowas, the Eco-
nomic Community of West African
States, has mandated Senegal, which
almost surrounds The Gambia, to
spearhead military intervention,
but only as a last resort and with the
backing of the UN Security Council.
The US State Department urged
Jammeh to peacefully transfer power
to Barrow today.
"Doing so would allow him to
leave office with his head held high
and to protect The Gambian people
from potential chaos," spokesman
John Kirby said.
"Failure to do so will put his legacy,
and more importantly The Gambia,
in peril," he added.
The Gambia's entire armed forc-
es is made up of only about 2,500
troops, making it difficult to see
how they can defeat a regional force
if it moves in, says BBC Africa Mon-
itoring security correspondent Tomi
Nigeria's air force was contribut-
ing 200 "supporting" troops for the
force, navy spokesman Capt Dahun
Jahun told the Associated Press.
A Nigerian military source told our
correspondent that a Nigerian war-
ship was sailing towards The Gambia
as a show of force.
However, Nigerian President Mu-
hammadu Buhari's foreign affairs
aide, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, denied it
was a war ship, saying a vessel had
been sent to evacuate Nigerians if
Barrow, a property developer, has
been in Senegal since Saturday. His
aides said he would return to The
Gambia for his inauguration today.
In his only comment since the
state of emergency was declared, he
tweeted: "We made history on the
first day of December. Our future
Jammeh's declaration of a state of
emergency was seen as an attempt
to block the ceremony, scheduled
to take place at a stadium in Bakau
town, west of the capital Banjul, from
Barrow could, technically, also be
sworn in at The Gambian embassy
in Senegal. However, there are cur-
rently no visible preparations under
At least 26,000 Gambians, most-
ly women and children, had crossed
into Senegal by Monday evening
amid fears that violence could erupt,
the UN refugee agency said, citing
Senegalese government figures.
"The flow has increased sharply
since then," regional spokeswoman
Helene Caux was quoted by Reuters
Travel firm Thomas Cook said it
would fly back to the UK, over the
next 48 hours, 985 customers from
package holidays after the Foreign
Office advised "against all but es-
sential travel to The Gambia due to
ongoing political uncertainty and
potential military intervention fol-
lowing the presidential elections."
About 1,600 Dutch citizens are
also being flown home after similar
advice from their government.
Mr Jammeh has said he will stay in
office until new elections are held.
Retaining power would also ensure
he was not prosecuted in The Gambia
for alleged abuses committed during
his rule. (BBC)
British and Dutch tourists check in at Banjul Airport, Gambia, yesterday.
Special flights were being organised yesterday to evacuate British and
other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military
intervention loomed as President Yahya Jammeh's mandate expires today
after he lost elections in December. On Tuesday, he declared a state of
emergency before he is supposed to cede power to President-elect Adama
Barrow. AP PHOTO
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