Gambian army chief Ousman Badjie said yesterday that there “is not going to be any war or any fighting” in the country. Meanwhile, leaders of West African countries are making a final attempt to persuade Yahya Jammeh, who lost the presidential election, to relinquish power.
In statements that he made to reporters in the capital Banjul, Ousman Badjie described what is happening in the country as “a political misunderstanding that will be resolved politically, not militarily”.
Badjie said that the security situation was under full control and called on thousands of Gambians who fled their country in fear of violence to return. He added that West African troops that crossed from neighbouring Senegal to the Gambia to assist with the removal of Jammeh are welcome, according to the German Press Agency.
In Banjul, the capital of the Gambia, streets have been deserted and shops closed since Thursday when West African troops were preparing to intervene militarily to force the head of state Yahya Jammeh to step down.
Several military checkpoints were set up in the city and police patrolled the streets whilst shops, stalls and banks remained closed. Banjul witnessed a quiet night after Adama Barrow was inaugurated. Army chief Ousman Badjie was also seen celebrating despite the fact that he was a favourite of Jammeh who came to power in 1994. Jammeh lost the elections in December but refused to acknowledge this.
Two African leaders travelled to the Gambia to make a last-ditch attempt to persuade Yahya Jammeh, who lost the presidential elections in the Gambia, to step down. The President of Guinea Alpha Condé and his Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz went to Banjul yesterday in order to give Jammeh, who ruled the tiny West African state for 22 years with an iron fist, a final chance to step aside.