• JAMMEH OUT, ADAMA BARROW IN, military option inevitable, JAMMEH long reign ends as ECOWAS defence chiefs conclude in ABUJA

    15/Jan/2017 // 5399 Viewers

     

    The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, on Saturday hosted colleagues from other West African countries as ECOWAS steps up preparation for a possible military action in the Gambia.

    The meeting, held at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, was part of the preparation for the inauguration of an Ecowas Military Intervention Group (ECOMIG) for the small West African country should President Yahya Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down when his tenure expires on January 19.

    Mr. Jammeh lost the December 1 2016 election to Adama Barrow of the opposition.

    While welcoming the participants and ECOWAS officials to Nigeria, Mr. Olonisakin, a General, expressed the readiness of regional leaders and military commanders to continue the pursuit of dialogue with the political leaders of Gambia and ensure peaceful transition of power in accordance with the Gambian’s constitution and the peoples' will.

    A source close to the meeting told our correspondent that a decision was taken that the defence chiefs should return to their various countries to prepare troops for possible deployment in Gambia.

    A statement published on the website of the Defence Headquarters listed notable
    dignitaries at the event to include the chairperson of ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staffs, Daniel Ziankahn of Liberia (Brigadier General); CH Gueye of Senegal; ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Hajiya Salamatu; Vice President of the Commission; the Ghanian Chief of Defence Staff and principal staff officers from Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force headquarters.

    No communique was issued at the end of the meeting, which held just as ECOWAS vowed to take all necessary actions to enforce the will of the Gambian people.



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  • JUST IN: BARROW flees GAMBIA, moves to SENEGAL for safety ahead of JANUARY 19, fear of unrest pushes OTHERS across border into SENEGAL

    15/Jan/2017 // 1835 Viewers

     

    Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow is now in neighbouring Senegal, a coalition member and local media said on Sunday, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

    Barrow went with President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the Africa-France summit in Bamako, the Malian capital on Friday, from where he appeared to have moved to Senegal.

    Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin.

    Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind, plunging one of West Africa’s tourist hot spots into crisis.

    Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results.

    “He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilising the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.

    A spokesman for Senegal’s government was not immediately able to confirm his arrival which was also reported by state-owned news agency APS. Toure did not say why Barrow had gone to Dakar, although other supporters said he felt vulnerable given a lack of security.

    The regional mediation mission to Banjul on Saturday, led by Nigeria’s President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was seen as the last attempt at a diplomatic resolution to the political impasse.

    Talks with regional bloc ECOWAS in December had also failed.

    The bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas said earlier this week.

    “His Excellency the President reiterated his position and that of The Gambia Government,” said a statement for Gambia’s President on the State House website after Saturday’s meeting.

    Jammeh has cited irregularities in the polling process and is challenging the election results at Gambia’s Supreme Court.

    But the court could not rule on his challenge this week because judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not show up. The Supreme Court has indicated it may not be able to sit again until May.

    GAMBIANS FLEEING

    Meanwhile the prolonged political uncertainty and fear of unrest has pushed thousands of Gambians across the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau.

    Tibna Sambe Na Wana, the national coordinator for Guinea-Bissau’s refugee commission, said more than 1,000 Gambians had crossed into the country, where they do not require a visa, in recent days.

    “It is clear that the total number is far higher than a thousand and rising daily,” Na Wana said.

    Women, children and the elderly made up the greatest numbers, the official said, with more than 500 passing one border post near the town of Jegue in three days.

    “They say they are scared of a military escalation,” Na Wana added.

    In Senegal, the UN’s refugee agency said “several thousand people” had crossed into the southern Casamance region from The Gambia, especially children.

    Senegal and The Gambia have deep ethnic and linguistic ties, and most families have relatives living across the border.

    “Most arrivals in Senegal are Gambians and Senegalese who have been working or living in The Gambia,” said Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s representative for West Africa in Dakar, but added Africans from several other nations were also crossing.

    A nation of fewer than two million people, The Gambia already accounts for the highest number of migrants per capita of any nationality crossing the Mediterranean on smugglers’ boats to Italy.

    The effects of the crisis were further scrutinised across the continent in Addis Ababa, where the African Union (AU) declared it would no longer recognise President Jammeh as head of state on January 19, regardless of the Supreme Court case.

    Citing “the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential elections held on 1 December 2016 in The Gambia,” the AU called on Jammeh to respect the constitution and cede power to Barrow on that date.

    Jammeh has said he wants to wait for the Supreme Court to sit and hear his case, but the Gambian Bar Association said Friday his term could not legally be extended except through a referendum altering the constitution.

    The president has few allies and has faced almost universal condemnation for clinging to his post, though Nigerian House of Representatives said Thursday the country should consider offering him asylum.

    *(AFP, NAN report.)


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  • Gambia threatens military action against Senegal

    15/Jun/2016 // 6876 Viewers

     

    (AFP) - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened military action against Senegal if the alleged protégées of President Macky Sall attack his country.

    The Africa’s French magazine Jeune Afrique Tuesday quoted President Jammeh as  saying that 'President Sall had become worse than his predecessors'.

    The Gambian leader said his anger stemmed from the fact that Senegal allowed Gambian dissidents to express themselves freely in Senegalese media.

    “His (Macky’s) government protects all those who plot against my country, all those who commit crimes in the Gambia and flee, claiming that their rights are violated,” President Jammeh was  further quoted as saying.

    “I have him sent a message and I was very clear: if they attack the Gambia, I will attack Senegal; I’m ready!”.

     Last week, a former Gambian soldier suffered gunshot injuries after he allegedly escaped an attack by armed men allegedly sent from Gambia to execute him.

    Go to hell: 

    The media in Senegal quoted the renegade Gambian soldier as saying from his hospital bed that he had parted ways with President Jammeh over allegations that he planned to carry out a coup.

    Last week also, Jeune Afrique quoted the Gambian leader as telling the UN and Amnesty International to go to hell for requesting him to facilitate independent investigation into the death of the opponent, Mr Solo Sandeng.

    “Ban Ki-moon and Amnesty International can go to hell! Who are they demanding that? Why do not they ask the United States to open investigations on all those blacks who are killed by the police?” he was quoted.


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  • Gambia to leave International Criminal Court Nov. 10, 2017 - U.N.

    15/Nov/2016 // 544 Viewers

     

    Gambia has notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will take effect on Nov. 10, 2017, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday, making it the third country to quit The Hague-based tribunal.

    In October, Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as "an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans."

    The tiny West African nation said in late October it planned to pull out of the ICC. South Africa and Burundi both notified the United Nations in October of their withdrawal from the court, which will take effect in one year.

    The ICC's current chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is Gambian and was an adviser to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in the early years of his rule after he seized power in a coup in 1994. She later served as justice minister.

    The court, which opened in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed regret that South Africa, Burundi and Gambia are leaving the ICC and said it could "send a wrong message on these countries' commitment to justice."


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  • Heavy SANCTIONS on JAMMEH begins as UN 'cancels Gambia army chief visit' - BBC reports

    16/Dec/2016 // 12171 Viewers

             Gen Badjie has been seen sporting a badge with a photo of Mr Jammeh

    A diplomatic source has told the BBC that the UN has cancelled the head of the Gambian army's visit to Gambian peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in the Darfur region of Sudan. 

    Gambian soldiers this week occupied the Gambian election commission's headquarters in an apparent show of loyalty to the outgoing president, Yahya Jammeh, who has reneged on his initial promise to accept the result of this month's election. 

    BBC World Service Africa editor James Copnall says that by cancelling General Ousman Badjie's visit to Sudan, the UN is putting pressure on the military to not side with President Jammeh and to allow the man announced as the winner, Adama Barrow, to be sworn in as president. 

    Mr Jammeh is believed to retain the support of key members of the security forces, apparently including Gen Badjie, who arrived at a meeting with West African leaders on Tuesday wearing a badge bearing Mr Jammeh's face.

    Human Rights Watch has urged the army not to launch a crackdown on the opposition and its supporters, saying the military must put human rights above loyalty to Mr Jammeh.


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  • JUST IN: JAMMEH under intense pressure as UN, US reiterate position on HIM, The Gambia (VIDEO)

    16/Dec/2016 // 4855 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 16, 2016: (DGW) As international pressure continues to mount, fresh reports reaching our Paris newsdesk from the United Nations top official in the West African subregion say outgoing President Jammeh would be frustrated out power if he fails to heed the voices of reason, respect the wishes of the Gambian people and peacefully step aside.

    The report further added that Jammeh-led government would be heavily sanctioned and no detail about the impending sanction on the tiny West African State was given.

    Earlier, the United States together with the UN had also asked the Gambian security forces to leave the capital city for the commission office which they reportedly seized on Tuesday this week.

    However, the Gambia's President-elect, Adama Barrow, has told the BBC he will declare himself president on 18 January despite incumbent Yahya Jammeh's rejection of the election result.

    He said his team was preparing for his inauguration and he urged Mr Jammeh to respect the will of the electorate.

    The election commission declared Mr Barrow winner of the 1 December poll.

    Mr Jammeh has launched court action to annul the result after initially accepting defeat.

    Watch video:




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  • JAMMEH mitosis - THE NATION NIGERIA

    16/Jan/2017 // 1099 Viewers

     

    It is three days to curtains call for Yahya Jammeh’s tenure as president of The Gambia, but he just doesn’t get the message his time is up. Seven weeks after he was defeated at the poll by opposition challenger, Adama Barrow, this title-tripping ruler insists on tossing off the electoral verdict, thumbs his nose at international opinion and digs his heels deeper into power. But his legitimacy is invariably terminating.

    By this week-out, he would have fully mitosised from the chief law-keeper of The Gambia to the chief outlaw. Unfortunately, his illicit and desperate hold on the levers of power would continue to stash up casualties.

    For the length of time that Jammeh manages to hold out in his political brigandage beyond the January 19 expiration of his tenure, The Gambia would inevitably be on the boil. Besides, his example is bad news for the culture of democracy – particularly in the West African sub-region, but also in all of Africa. He has to be kicked out soonest.

    It is a shame that Mr. Jammeh can’t muster sufficient literacy of mind to read the writing on the wall. Every straw he is clutching unto to justify his coup against electoral democracy isn’t serving his purpose. For instance, Jammeh said his country’s constitutional order is that only the Supreme Court could validly pronounce on who should be president, and he would thus not let go on power until such a pronouncement is made. Fact-check his assertion and you would find there is neither a constituted Supreme Court presently in The Gambia to render the important service Mr. Jammeh craves, nor is there any particular provision in the country’s Constitution to sustain his thesis.

    The Gambia’s Supreme Court that was billed to hear the petition brought by the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) against the outcome of the December 1 election, in which Barrow triumphed, could not sit as scheduled on January 10 because there were no justices. The country relies on foreign judges to staff its Supreme Court owing to lack of local skill, and Jammeh’s election challenge was slated to be heard by five judges, among them Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle who is a Nigerian. But the judges drawn from Nigeria and Sierra Leone were absent last Tuesday. Fagbenle told Jammeh’s lawyers who were in court that he needed a full panel to hear the petition, and that the outsourced judges were unlikely to be available until either May or November. Put in other words, the awaited decision on the election challenge is effectively down in the long grass.

    Following that judicial false start, Jammeh returned to his country’s airwaves, requesting Gambians to await the Supreme Court verdict pending which he would not step down. Even though the Chief Justice had openly advised that mediation is the best way forward, he said his cabinet and the National Assembly would remain in place until the court decides on his petition so to ensure that the rule of law is upheld. “(Under the Constitution), only the Supreme Court can review our challenge, and only the Supreme Court can declare anyone president,” he added.

    I bothered to check The Gambia’s 1997 Constitution, and it is unclear with what specific provision Mr. Jammeh was making his case. Section 63 of that law stipulates the terms for an elected president’s tenure, including that the electee must assume office for five years after taking prescribed oaths. Sub-section 2 of the section states inter alia: “The person elected President shall assume office sixty days following the day of his or her election.” This, obviously, is the clause that confers Barrow with legitimacy as president from January 19.

    The constitutional provision for possible extension of a president’s tenure (in the present case, that of Jammeh) is in sub-section 6, which states: “Where the life of the National Assembly is extended for any period in accordance with section 99 (2), the term of office of the President shall be extended for the same period.” The referenced section 99 (2) stipulates: “At any time when The Gambia is at war or a state of emergency is declared, the National Assembly may, by resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members, extend the life of the National Assembly for not more than three months at a time, but the life of the National Assembly shall not be extended under this subsection for more than a total period of one year.”

    But The Gambia could not be said to be at war or in emergency in the present case. In any event, the country’s National Assembly has made no resolution to such effect. And so, Jammeh’s appropriation of the National Assembly’s tenure along with his own in awaiting the Supreme Court verdict seems an untidy bid to invoke the stated clause. However, election petitions are private processes on which the country’s Constitution has not made presidential tenure contingent.

    Added to his judicial adventure, Mr. Jammeh has been railing at the international community for what he considered foreign interference in his country’s domestic affairs. Against the backdrop of a threat by sub-regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deploy troops for his ouster that has been endorsed by the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU), the embattled ruler last week pilloried the world bodies for their “hasty resolutions,” which he said were at variance with the “peaceful nature” of the election dispute so far. “Our review and investigation have revealed an unprecedented level of foreign interference in our elections and internal affairs. And also, a sustained smear campaign, propaganda and misinformation,” he said, vowing The Gambia would not allow any organisation, treaty or law to supersede its Constitution.

    It is uncertain though how much longer Jammeh’s illusion of “peaceful nature” of The Gambia’s election crisis would be sustained. Adama Barrow has vowed to take oath as president come Thursday, and indications are the new president would brave the odds to assume legitimacy on January 19, while Jammeh would go all out to stop him. That isn’t a scenario that portends much peace for the country, or indeed for the entire sub-region. More important, someone needs to tell Jammeh that elections have gone from being private affairs of individual countries to an internationally benchmarked universal project. That is why foreign observers are always on hand in all countries where elections hold, added to domestic ones. Otherwise, despots would freely deploy the charade of elections to legitimize their perpetuity in office before the world.

    It is time for Jammeh to go. President Muhammadu Buhari led ECOWAS mediators on another mission to Banjul at the weekend, but it seems not much headway was made with negotiating the man out of power. Meanwhile, The Gambia has been on steady descent into chaos. Since Jammeh’s volte-face on the December 1 poll, Gambians have mounted civil actions to force his exit. A string of high profile defections from the tiny country hallmarks a bourgeoning refugee crisis. 

    Envoys of The Gambia have spoken up from their duty stations and were summarily fired, and by implication exiled, by Jammeh. On Monday, last week, Jammeh’s Communication Minister Sheriff Bojang stepped down and fled the country; so also has Alieu Momarr Njai, chairman of the country’s Independent Electoral Commission, who has fled to Senegal. Private radio stations sympathetic to Barrow’s narrative have been shut down, while local new sites said agents of government have arrested people wearing t-shirts bearing the inscription ‘Gambia Has Decided,’ which is a known slogan of Barrow supporters.

    ECOWAS has signified it would deploy multinational forces against Jammeh if he can’t be persuaded to honour electoral verdict within his country’s constitutional framework. Now is the time to act, as further delay portends bigger crises. Kick Jammeh out now!

    *The post 'Jammeh mitosis' appeared first on THE NATION NIGERIA


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  • JUST IN: JAMMEH battle ready for final showdown, more people flee BANJUL as military hardware moved into streets

    16/Jan/2017 // 3464 Viewers

     

     A Gambian, Mrs Fatou Abdoulaye who has arrived Calabar in Nigeria has said there has been build up of military hardware all over the streets of Banjul, the national capital, and other parts of the tiny country on the orders of President Yayha Jammeh who lost the December 1, 2016 presidential election.

    Though he initially conceded defeat, a week after he refused to accept the result of the election leading ECOWAS to send a mediation read headed by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari.

    Fatou, in her 50s and a private citizen, said a good number of Gambians and foreigners including Nigerians resident in the country have fled out of fear that there could be military action either by ECOWAS against the beleaguered regime of Jammeh, or Jammeh himself could decide to attack ECOWAS citizens and interests.
    She appealed to Nigeria and other countries to help her country urgently.


    "We appeal to Nigeria and other friendly countries to kindly help u our country.  Jammeh is clinging to power by force....  Half of the country's population have left the country for fear of blood shed .


    "We are on our knees begging for God's early intervention because the guy has decorated the streets with military tankers and weapons of mass destruction never b4 seen in these parts of Africa"!
    According to her, there have been reports of missing persons in Gambia in recent times, and because of fear the press and people are afraid to speak out.

     


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  • Tears as DOG reportedly kills 8-year-old son of BARROW, Gambia's poll winner

    16/Jan/2017 // 1844 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 16, 2017: (DGW) IT is  sorrow and trying times for Adama Barrow, Gambia's presidential poll winner as Habibou Barrow, his eight-year-old died today after being bitten by a dog, Freedom Newspaper, a Gambian online publication has just reported.

    According to the report,  the dog attacked the younger Barrow in Manjie-Kunda, near the Gambian capital of Banjul.

    “I can confirm to you that the president-elect Barrow’s son has been killed by a dog at Manjie,” the source was quoted as saying.

    “I am just from the death house in Banjul. Hamat Bah and the coalition team are there.

    “The boy is eight years old. Barrow’s sister was also at the death house. She said the president’s son passed away.”

    The newspaper said the media team of Gambia’s incoming president could not say whether the incident was planned or not.

    “Honestly, the media team is not aware. The boy was not staying in Barrow’s house in Brufut,” the team said.

    The funeral of the deceased, who was the child of Barrow’s second wife, has already taken place.

    Quoting local newspapers, the BBC said Barrow has two wives and four other children.

    The president-elect is currently in Senegal ahead of his planned inauguration.



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  • GAMBIA: Hope for peaceful resolution in sight as JAMMEH sends powerful message to ECOWAS leaders, to make STATEMENT soon

    16/Jan/2017 // 3021 Viewers

     

    Gambian president Yahya Jammeh on Sunday placed a call to Liberian president and chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to help facilitate the release of judges to sit on the election petition filed by his party.

    The four-minute video that showed Jammeh appealing to Sirleaf to help Gambians to use the courts to peacefully resolve the political impasse arising from the December 1 polls.

    Transcript of Jammeh’s call to Sirleaf

    Sirleaf: Yeah, you wanted to talk to me again.
    Jammeh: With regards to our last meeting when you came here, I want to request your assistance as the chairperson of the ECOWAS authority of Heads of State. To help us resolve this impasse peacefully through the courts.

    I hereby request you for ECOWAS to facilitate the release of the judges so that they can come and help us resolve constitutionally (through the constitution of the Gambia). As I said, the only peaceful resolution of this impasse is through the courts.

    Everything that we are doing is based on the constitution of the Republic of the Gambia and an application has also been filed at the Supreme Court of the Gambia for an injunction to restrain Adama Barrow from being sworn-in, as well as restrain the Chief Justice and any other party from swearing-in Adama Barrow into office until this application is decided either way or the status quo must remain.

    That is until such a time that the Supreme Court has made a decision on this, the status quo cannot change. But under the constitution of the Gambia, the so-called 19 of January is not cast in stone as we have an injunction in the court and we have a problem with our election.

    All parties should await the outcome of the Supreme Court which will be the only legal entity to thrash out this case, once and for all. I want to assure you that whatever we want to do will be based on the constitution of the Gambia.

    And as we discussed that all must pass through the constitution of the Gambia which is the supreme authority. So I once again renew my request for you as the chair to request for the ECOWAS to facilitate the coming of the judges so that they can hear this case as soon as possible.

    Sirleaf: Okay Mr President, so like I told you when we talk before, I am going to work on this right away. I am going to consult with all the mediating teams and tell them what you have said. Like I told you before, it will be a good idea if you just put out a statement. 
    Jammeh: Yes

    Sirleaf: As we agreed before, just a short statement coming from you, that will be very important to the mediation team, coming from you making a request to the ECOWAS body that you only want peace and you are going to follow the constitution.

    There is an infraction, the will please find and get the judges for you and a court decision must be the way to go. A small statement like that will make everybody comfortable. Then we can move on and encourage Nigeria and other people to get the justices to come there.
    Jammeh: I promise you I’m going to do it today, and I am going to do it today my sister.

    Sirleaf: Alright
    Jammeh: You have my word for it.

    Sirleaf: Thank you so much
    Jammeh: Thank you so much, all the best

    Sirleaf: Thank you, thank you for helping us to all find peace, Gambia needs peace, ECOWAS wants peace. 
    Jammeh: Insha Allah, I guarantee you that by the grace of Allah we will work for a peaceful resolution.

    The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared Adama Barrow – an opposition coalition candidate as winner of the polls. Barrow is currently in Senegal and will fly in on Thursday january 19 to be sworn-in as president.

    Jammeh has applied for an injunction to be placed on the swearing in. An earlier court case on the validity of the polls could not be heard because of lack of judges.

    Gambia often imports judges from fellow West African countries especially from Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Its current Chief Justice is a Nigerian, Emmanuel Fagbenle


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