U.S. says situation in Gambia ‘dangerous

President Sirleaf who led a UN and ECOWAS negotiation team to The Gambia to prevail on Gambian leader to step down has refuted claims that she was denied to land in the country by outgoing President Yahya Jammeh.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Gambia’s president elect Adama Barrow

The United Nations Security Council on Monday discussed ruling Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down, with U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power later describing the situation in the West African country as “very dangerous.”

Jammeh, in power for 22 years, quickly conceded defeat to opposition candidate Adama Barrow after a Dec. 1 presidential election. But Jammeh denounced the results in an about-face on Friday that drew international condemnation.

The 15-member Security Council condemned the move on Saturday, calling for all parties to refrain from violence, and was briefed behind closed doors on the situation on Monday by U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman.

“It is a very dangerous moment,” Power told reporters after the briefing. “We know that there are some military officers that have sided with President Jammeh since his retreat … That’s a very alarming circumstance.”

“We also know that the president-elect has been in close touch with the chief of defense of the armed forces, so this is a very complex and murky situation at present,” she said. “Power to take The Gambia to its peaceful destiny lies in President Jammeh’s hands.”

Reports say Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  and three other West African heads of state including Nigeria’s Buhari on Tuesday to tell Jammeh to accept his election defeat and step down.

The Security Council “urged President Jammeh to meet and cooperate” with the high level delegation, added that the Deputy Spanish U.N. Ambassador Juan Manuel Gonzalez de Linares Palou. Spain is president of the Security Council for December.

Jammeh has ruled the country since seizing power in a coup in 1994 when he was an army lieutenant, winning four elections that were criticized by rights monitors and surviving several coup attempts.

International human rights groups accuse him of widespread violations and repression.

“Everybody is singing from the same sheet of music and the song is clear: you have lost the election President Jammeh and you must give up power peacefully,” Power said.

Sirleaf refutes Gambia landing denial

However, on Monday President Sirleaf’s press secretary was on the state broadcast dismissing report published by the Reuter News and the BBC that President Sirleaf was denied entry into Gambia by President Jammeh when President Sirleaf was “still in Liberia on her Farm”.

The report by the two international news institutions came just before President Sirleaf and the ECOWAS team left today for Gambia.

President Sirleaf Secretary described the report as false and misleading.

According to an Executive Mansion release Monday evening, the high – level ECOWAS delegation will include President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, H.E. Pesident Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General of West Africa and Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas among others.

Their visit is aimed at holding discussion with Gambia’s President Yayha Jammeh to respect the elections results.

 

 

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