Gambia's longtime autocratic leader finally leaves the country and go into exile

Georgia ReedJan 23, 2017

West African troops entered Gambia on Sunday to secure president Adama Barrow's return from neighbouring Senegal, as controversy erupted over the assurances offered to former dictator Yahya Jammeh to guarantee his exit.

Turkey has welcomed Gambia's new president Adama Barrow on Saturday after the political crisis ended peacefully.

Mr Barrow, 51, was sworn-in on Thursday as the Gambia's third president at a ceremony held at the Gambian embassy in Senegal's capital, Dakar, which was attended by western and African dignitaries.

"According to information we received, there is no money in the coffers", Barrow said.

Some of the 45,000 people who had fled the tiny country during the crisis began to return.

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Senegal, along with several other African nations have also deployed its troops in Gambia.

Guinea's President Alpha Conde and Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz handled the last hours of negotiations with Jammeh.

Jammeh's departure brought an end to 22 years of eccentric and repressive rule over a small country which has not made much economic progress under his leadership.

Two Senegalese military officers said the multi-national force had met no resistance from the Gambian army as they advanced on Sunday.

Human rights lawyer Reed Brody told The Associated Press that the deal doesn't give Jammeh amnesty.

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However, things turned sour as Barrow proceeded to deposit 50p for the game, and Yahya Jammeh was heard yelling down the phone to his "well hard mates" that the game was in fact "total bollocks" and that "there's no way I'm letting this pretender take my pool table" shortly before refusing to relinquish his cue, and waving it with menacing and vague intent in Adama Barrow's direction.

Barrow said Sunday on Twitter that he planned to return to Gambia "very soon".

"Gambia will neither respect nor honor what was contained in that joint declaration", said Mai Ahmad Fatty, an executive member of Barrow's coalition.

A joint declaration issued by the United Nations, African Union (AU) and Ecowas shortly after Mr Jammeh left said the bodies would work with Mr Barrow's government to make sure Mr Jammeh, his family and his close associates were not the target of punishment.

The declaration noted that former President Jammeh will temporarily leave the country, without any prejudice to his rights, to assist the peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of a new government, . Thousands of Gambians had fled in recent weeks for fear Jammeh's refusal to step down would lead to bloodshed.

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The focus for Gambians has now turned to calling Jammeh to account for some of his alleged human rights abuses.

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