Barrow promises to come home once situation is ‘clear’

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Gambia’s president elect Adama Barrow

The victor of Gambia’s recent polls, Adama Barrow, has told Associate Press in Dakar that he plans to return home to take power once the situation is “clear.”

A visibly tired Adama Barrow said in an interview Saturday that he will enter Gambia once a security sweep has been completed.

He has been in neighboring Senegal for his safety during a political standoff that came to the brink of a regional military intervention.

Barrow, who won December’s presidential elections, spoke just hours after Jammeh announced he would relinquish power, ending hours of last-minute negotiations with the leaders of Guinea and Mauritania.

“It is not yet confirmed information, but reliable sources are saying he’s leaving today,” Barrow told the AP yesterday before the departure of Jammeh. “We believe he’ll go to Guinea, but we are waiting to confirm 100 percent.

He said he has not yet been given the communique which should spell out the terms of Jammeh’s departure. “What is fundamental here is he will live in a foreign country as of now,” he said.

Barrow was inaugurated Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal, with the backing of the international community.

Fearing violence as the political crisis dragged on, about 45,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

After days of uncertainty, Banjul was peaceful Saturday. At the ferry terminal, Yassin Jallow helped hand out bread to families returning to the capital.

“There are so many people who couldn’t go out, and nothing is working, the shops are closed, the bakeries are closed … and we don’t want anyone to starve,” Jallow said.

Some wary Gambians said they would believe Jammeh’s departure when they saw it.

“I heard he will step down, but leaving, that is the question,” said student Haruna Jallow.

On Sunday, people have started coming into the country from Senegal while others who have travelled to rural areas have also started returning for school and work.

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