Gambia crisis: Jammeh pleads for more time as troops close in

Gambia crisis: Jammeh pleads for more time as troops close in January 20, 2017

The Gambia’s defeated President Yahya Jammeh has asked for a deadline for him to leave office or be forced out by UN-backed forces to be extended until 16:00 GMT on Friday.

The earlier deadline of noon passed as the Guinean and Mauritanian presidents arrived in Banjul for last-ditch talks.

Mr Jammeh’s elected successor, Adama Barrow, was sworn in as president at a ceremony in Senegal on Thursday.

Troops acting in support of President Barrow have paused their advance.

The forces from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) regional grouping are backed by the United Nations.

They crossed into The Gambia from Senegal on Thursday but have been told not to advance further until the talks have finished.

Mr Barrow’s legitimacy as president has been recognised internationally, after he won last month’s elections.

Mr Jammeh’s term expired at midnight on Wednesday – but, while still president, he engineered a parliamentary vote to extend his presidency. As Mr Barrow has already been sworn in, the country could be said to have two presidents.

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in Banjul on Friday morning for the talks with Mr Jammeh.

The chairman of the Ecowas commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, said that if the meeting with Mr Conde proved unsuccessful, military action would follow.

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