Gambia’s President-elect, Barrow Flees the Country
The Gambia’s President-elect, Adama Barrow, has left the country after talks failed to persuade the incumbent President Yahya Jammeh to step down.
This came after Nigeria’s president efforts to strike a deal with Jammeh to relinquish power were futile.
Barrow is now heading to Mali, where he will meet West African leaders attending a summit there this weekend.
The former estate agent wants to resolve the transitional deadlock so he can be sworn in next week.
President Jammeh’s term ends on Thursday 18th January, 2017.
Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari had flown to The Gambia’s capital, Banjul, to try to broker a deal, as the region fears the consequences of a non-peaceful transition, but Jammeh refused to step down.
Ecowas, a 15-nation bloc of West African states that it is considering removing Jammeh using military force if he refuses to step aside.
Jammeh had initially admitted defeat after the December election. But shortly afterwards he called for the result to be annulled.
The 51-year-old leader seized power in the country in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses, although he has held regular elections.
A lawyer for Jammeh filed a request with the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking for an injunction to block Barrow’s swearing-in.
The Supreme Court is unable to hear the challenge until May because of a shortage of judges, and Jammeh says he will not step down until then.
There are growing fears that the uncertainty could cause a refugee exodus.
Thousands of Gambians, mostly women and children, have already crossed the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau, where they do not require a visa, officials say.