• 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 // 1941 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 // 6959 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 // 655 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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  • Libya ‘slave markets’ where GAMBIANS, NIGERIANS, others are sold for $200

    16/Apr/2017 // 4529 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 15, 2017: (DGW) Growing numbers of African migrants passing through Libya are traded in what they call slave markets before being held for ransom, forced labour or sexual exploitation, the U.N. migration agency said last week.

    West African migrants interviewed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have recounted being bought and sold in garages and car parks in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya’s main migrant smuggling hubs.

    Migrants are traded for between $200 and $500 and are held on average for two or three months, Othman Belbeisi, head of the IOM’s Libya mission, told journalists in Geneva.

    “Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity,” he said. “Selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger and stronger.”
    The migrants – many from Nigeria, Senegal and Gambia – are captured as they head north towards Libya’s Mediterranean coast, where some try to catch boats for Italy.

    Along the way they are prey to an array of armed groups and smuggling networks that often try to extort extra money in exchange for allowing migrants to continue.

    Most migrants are used as day labourers in construction or agriculture. Some are paid and others are forced to work without pay.

    “About women, we heard a lot about bad treatment, rape and being forced into prostitution,” Belbeisi said.

    The IOM said it had spoken to one Senegalese migrant who was held in a Libyan’s private house in Sabha with about 100 others, who were beaten as they called their families to ask for money for their captors. He was then bought by another Libyan, who set a new price for his release.

    Some migrants who cannot pay their captors are reportedly killed or left to starve to death, and when migrants die or are released, others are purchased to replace them, the IOM said.

    Migrants are buried without being identified, with families back home uncertain of their fate.

    “What we know is that migrants who fall into the hands of smugglers face systematic malnutrition, sexual abuse and even murder,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, said in a statement. “We are hearing about mass graves in the desert.”
    Libya is the main gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 people making the crossing in each of the past three years.

    So far this year an estimated 26,886 migrants have crossed to Italy, over 7,000 more than during the same period in 2016. More than 600 are known to have died at sea, while an unknown number perish during their journey north through the desert.

    The post Libya ‘slave markets’ where Nigerians, others are sold for $200 appeared first on Vanguard News.


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

    16/Dec/2016 // 12368 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 // 4984 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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  • JUST IN: UN team visits GAMBIA on POST-JAMMEH assessment

    16/Feb/2017 // 2535 Viewers

     

    A UN team led by officials from the Department of Political Affairs and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) arrived in The Gambia to assess post-Yahya Jammeh situation, following successful takeover of power by President Adama Barrow.

    Mr Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, told UN correspondents at a news conference on Wednesday that the mission arrived the country on Tuesday.

    Haq said the UN team would “assess the situation with regard to peace and security and analyse the new government’s priorities going forward.

    “It will also assess governance and institutional capacities in the country and map out support strategies by international stakeholders engaging in peace-building.

    “The mission will identify areas of enhanced UN support to national authorities and
    civil society organisations.

    “The mission met today with President Barrow, after meeting with the vice-president, the Foreign Minister, the Country Team working in The Gambia, and representatives of the diplomatic community in the country,” Haq said.

    Jammeh, who was defeated in the country’s Dec. 1 presidential election by Barrow after 22 years in power, reneged on his concession of defeat and refused to peacefully handover to his successor.

    The former president only accepted to leave after a UN-backed mediation by ECOWAS and AU, which had UN Security Council mandate to use every possible way to remove him, broke a deal to avoid the use of force.

    Jammeh finally left Banjul on Jan. 21 for exile in Equatorial Guinea after a protracted political crisis in the country. (NAN)


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  • JAMMEH mitosis - THE NATION NIGERIA

    16/Jan/2017 // 1263 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 // 3625 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 // 1959 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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