Gambia’s army chief Ousman Badjie Friday said he recognized new President Adama Barrow as the new commander-and-chief and would not fight a regional force poised to depose Yahya Jammeh, who has refused to step down.
“We are going to welcome them with flowers and make them a cup of tea,” Badjie said, adding “this is a political problem. It’s a misunderstanding. We are not going to fight Nigerian, Togolese or any military that comes.”
Today, West African leaders, President of Guinea Alpha Conde and Mauritanian President Muhamad Abdul Ould Aziz are currently in the country negotiating with Mr Jammeh to peacefully hand over power to President Adama Barrow who was sworn-in on Thursday in Senegal.
Barrow took the oath of office on Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal, calling for international support from West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.
A regional military force launched an intervention effort, dubbed Operation Restore Democracy, shortly after the former opposition figure was sworn in.
West African armies halted an operation in Gambia aimed at installing the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, on Thursday so regional leaders could make one last attempt to convince longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh to step aside.
“We think that up until the last minute there is still a solution through dialogue. We will halt the operation and allow peace a last chance” said Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, explaining the decision to suspend the advance to reporters in Dakar late on Thursday.