By Marymagdalyn Francis
West African regional army are on standby on Friday, waiting to invade Banjul to oust the incumbent, who has refused to step down despite entreaties by prominent African leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
Coalition from the ECOWAS was due to arrive Banjul for talks with Yahya Jammeh, in an effort to save him and his country from unnecessary hardship a forceful invasion would inflict on the people.
Jammeh was compelled by ECOWAS and African Union, also World body to cede power to President Adama Barrow, who was sworn in in Dakar yesterday.
Reuters Africa, reports that Head of the ECOWAS regional grouping, Marcel de Souza, said: “It’s out of question that he stays in place.”
Military troops from West Africa led by Nigeria and Senegal entered the Gambian border on Thursday, at the request of the substantive president, Barrow.
Former president, Jammeh was given until midday on Friday to vacate his seat and cede power to Barrow, the deadline passed but a top presidential Senegalese official said talks are ongoing, and the battalion would wait till end of discussion before deciding on what further actions are necessary for the military operation.
President Alpha Conde of Guinea and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, left Mauritania’s caital at 11.05 a.m. (1105 GMT) on Aziz presidential plane.
“There is a real possibility this could work. I don’t think he is going the (Saddam) Hussein route,” said a regional diplomat.
Jammeh has had some negative comments and actions attributed to him: had declared he would rule Gambia for a billion years; he pulled The Gambia out of Common wealth in 2013 and declared The Gambia an Islamic country.