GAMBIA: President-elect Barrow to Stay in Senegal until Inauguration

DAKAR JANUARY 17, 2017 (CISA) – Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow is in Senegal and will remain there at the request of West African leaders until his planned inauguration, Senegalese officials have said.

Barrow left Gambia for neighboring Senegal on August 15, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside, Reuters reported

“He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilizing the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.

Backed by the West and the African Union, Barrow, is due to be inaugurated on January 19, when President Jammeh’s mandate runs out although President Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to election results.

The regional mediation mission to Banjul on January 14, led by Nigeria’s President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was seen as the last attempt at a diplomatic resolution to the political impasse.

Talks with regional bloc ECOWAS in December had also failed. Consequently, the bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if President Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Mohammed Ibn Chambas said earlier this week.

According to the Senegalese government Barrow was in Dakar following consultations with heads of state from ECOWAS at a Bamako summit.

Barrow flew into the Malian capital as a surprise guest at the Africa-France summit after talks broke down on Friday between a three-nation West African delegation and President Jammeh.

President Jammeh has cited irregularities in the polling process and is challenging the election results at Gambia’s Supreme Court.

But the court could not rule on his challenge this week because judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not show up. The Supreme Court has indicated it may not be able to sit again until May.

Meanwhile Barrow’s son died January 15 after being bitten by a dog. Eight-year-old Habibu Barrow is reported to have died on the way to the hospital in Manjai near the Gambian capital Banjul. Barrow missed his son’s funeral as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.

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