EXILE

Jammeh is expected to head for Malabo but it is unclear if he will stay in that country.

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Former president of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who initially declined to relinquish power after his defeat at the polls, will now leave the country Saturday on a Mauritanian aircraft.


He is expected to head for Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, but it is unclear if he will stay in that country.

Jammeh ruled the Gambia nation for 22 years after seizing power as a 29-year old army officer in 1994. But the longtime leader bowed to pressure from West African forces who entered the country shortly after the man who handed defeat him at the polls, Adama Barrow, was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

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“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” Jammeh said on state television in the early hours of Saturday.

“My decision today was not dictated by anything else than the supreme interest of you, the Gambian people and our dear country,” he said following hours of talks with Guinea’s Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

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At Friday’s talks, backed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an agreement was reached in principle for Jammeh to leave, but by Saturday morning, it had still not been signed.

The agreement “foresees the departure of Yahya Jammeh from The Gambia for an African country with guarantees for himself, his family and his relatives,” Abdel Aziz said on return to Nouakchott in remarks quoted by the official AMI news agency.

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