Gambia's longtime Leader Jammeh leaves country

  • Gambia's defeated leader and former military officer Yahya Jammeh headed into political exile along with his family on Saturday night. With this ended his 22-year reign of fear and a post-election political standoff that was a threat to the system when he clung to power.

    As he moved towards the plane, he kissed his Quran and waved farewell to supporters, including the soldiers had tears in their eyes at his departure. Jammeh supporters gathered at the airport to see him walk the red carpet to his plane.

    This was after almost 24 hours of Jammeh’s announcement on state TV to have ceding his power to the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow, in response to the increasing international pressure for his dismissal.

    During his rule, tens of thousands of countrymen had fled from the country.

    An hour later Jammeh landed in Guinea from where he then took off for Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is not a state party to the International Criminal Court, unlike Guinea.

    Barrow defeated Jammeh in the December elections, but Jammeh called to concede the race, obnly to change his mind after few days. Jammeh’s exile shields him along with his family and supporters from prosecution. Also his assets will be protected from being seized and he will be allowed to return back “at any time of his choosing,” stated a statement from Ecowas, the African Union and the United Nations.