Gambia’s former ambassador to the United States said Monday that he is concerned for his safety if he returns to the country, but won’t be deterred from insisting that President Yahya Jammeh steps down.
Sheikh Omar Faye
Sheikh Omar Faye told a National Public Radio program interview in the U.S that a military invention in Gambia could destabilize the country which is already in a highly volatile region.
The regional economic bloc (ECOWAS) said it has put its troops on standby should President Jammeh failed to hand over power to president elect Adama Barrow on January 19.
“In that case, it’s going to bad for Gambia,” he said when asked what will happen if regional economic bloc intervenes to oust Jammeh.
“It’s bad for the (unintelligible) region, keeping in view that there is al-Qaida around the corner. There is all these terrorist groups hanging around there, just looking for cracks to get into places like small (ph) Gambia, and we don’t want that to happen. So we believe that diplomacy will be given a chance. I strongly believe in diplomacy, and we are hopeful.”
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The risk isn’t limited to internal conflict, as Faye stressed that any ECOWAS commitment to use military force to remove Jammeh would harm The Gambia as well as the region.
“We believe there are a few people behind the scenes trying to push the president not to accept this,” Faye said, noting that Jammeh initially praised the integrity of the voting process.
He did not offer names, but said these people were influencing Jammeh “for their own selfish interests” and putting The Gambia in harm’s way.
Faye is one of 11 ambassadors representing The Gambia overseas who have called on Jammeh to step down in an open letter addressed to him.
Jammeh initially accepted the results of a December 1 election that gave a clear victory to opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow, then subsequently changed course and demanded new elections.
President Jammeh’s party have already filed a petition seeking to annul the results at the country’s Supreme Court.
Faye confirmed last week that he has been recalled back to Banjul.