Gambians Flee the Country Ahead Of Barrow ‘Inauguration’
A worker at The Gambia’s main ferry crossing has told the BBC that thousands of people are fleeing every day as they are “afraid of war”.
“People are in chaos, people are leaving” as they don’t know what is going to happen, he said.
The Gambia’s Chief Justice has declined to rule on an application by President Yahya Jammeh to ban the inauguration of Adama Barrow as his successor.
Barrow won the election and an inauguration is planned for Thursday.
But Jammeh rejected the result and is refusing to step down until the Supreme Court hears his challenge, in May.
His legal team had asked for an injunction to block Barrow’s inauguration, but Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle said he could not rule on the issues as he is a subject of it.
The motion sought to stop him from swearing in Barrow.
Parliament has also reconvened for an emergency session. While the reasons for the meeting are unclear, but rumours have it that parliament may be asked to extend Jammeh’s term of office.
Barrow will stay in Senegal until his inauguration, state media in Senegal say.
Meanwhile, regional bloc ECOWAS has said it is considering military intervention to force Jammeh to relinquish power.
The UN refugee agency said last week that several thousand people, mainly children, have crossed into Senegal from The Gambia since 3 January.
“UNHCR teams report seeing buses filled with children, accompanied by women, cross the border,” said Liz Ahua, the regional representative for UNHCR.