Jammeh leaves The Gambia for exile after 22 years in power

Dakar, Jan 22 (IANS) The former President of The Gambia left the country on a flight bound for Guinea on Saturday, a day after agreeing to accept the results of last month’s election and peacefully cede power, local media reported.

Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years, EFE news reported.

The plane that transported Jammeh had been chartered by Guinean President Alpha Conde and left the Banjul International Airport shortly after 9.00 p.m. local time, Senegal’s Sud radio reported.

Jammeh agreed on Friday — a day after his term in office expired — to hand over power to Adama Barrow, who was elected on December 1, 2016 and sworn in on Thursday at the Gambian Embassy in neighbouring Senegal.

The ex-President agreed to step down amid diplomatic pressure and the threat of military intervention by an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) force.

The United Nations Security Council had approved a resolution backing the new head of state and supporting the efforts of ECOWAS in getting Jammeh to hand over power.

After initially accepting his defeat on December 2, Jammeh backtracked and contested the result, alleging failures in the vote recount.

Since then, the African Union, the United Nations and the international community have urged Jammeh, who took power in a 1994 coup, to accept the will of the people.