Jammeh agrees to step down, Gambian President Barrow says on Twitter

Dakar, Jan 21 (IANS) Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down and leave the country, Gambian President Adama Barrow said on Friday night on his Twitter account.

“I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today.” Xinhua news agency quoted Barrow as saying in a tweet, ending with the hashtag #NewGambia.

Friday noon, Mauritanian and Guinean Presidents arrived in Banjul for a “last mediation” to persuade Jammeh to give up presidential power to Barrow before the eventual military intervention conducted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by the Senegalese and Nigerian troops.

Soldiers from the ECOWAS stopped advancing in The Gambia on Thursday night to give Gambia’s long-time leader Jammeh a last chance to step down peacefully.

“Orders were given to the troops to stop their advance and they have stopped, because the ECOWAS privileges the initiatives of dialogue and diplomacy,” President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel Alain Da Souza said.

The Senegalese Army, backed by other West African soldiers, entered The Gambia on Thursday afternoon in a military operation aimed at forcing Jammeh to cede power to Barrow who was sworn in the same day in Dakar as the new Gambian President.

So far, no information has been given about where Jammeh is heading. But Morocco, Nigeria, Mauritania and Guinea all offered to welcome him.