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Gambia’s Jammeh Announces Relinquishes ‘Mantle of Leadership’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO – Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, who is also a presidential candidate for the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC), smiles during a rally in Banjul, Gambia, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said on Saturday he was stepping down under pressure from regional armies. The armies entered the West African country this week following his refusal to admit an election defeat to President Adama Barrow.

Some 7,000 soldiers from Nigeria and Senegal entered Gambia on Thursday backed by tanks and warplanes. They were poised to move into the capital, Banjul, as Jammeh’s army provided no resistance.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” Jammeh said on state TV, dressed in a white robe and looking fatigued.

“All those who have supported me or were against me in this period, I implore them to put the supreme interest of our nation the Gambia above all partisan interest and endeavor to work together as one nation,” he added.

Jammeh said his leaving power was in the national interest, adding he was grateful there was no bloodshed during the stalemate.

The leader was due to leave Gambia on Saturday, but there were conflicting reports as to where he would fly under a deal negotiated by the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania who traveled to Banjul on Friday to mediate, according to sources close to the talks.

Those talks involved whether he could be offered amnesty for alleged crimes committed during his rule, the sources said.