Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Regional Troops Enter Gambia in Effort to Get Jammeh to Go

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Regional Troops Enter Gambia in Effort to Get Jammeh to Go

Article excerpt

DAKAR, Senegal * A West African regional force charged into neighboring Gambia late Thursday to support the country's newly inaugurated president, while longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh showed no sign of stepping down.

The troops moved in shortly after Adama Barrow was inaugurated at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, after a final effort at diplomatic talks with Jammeh failed to secure his departure. His mandate expired at midnight.

Senegalese military spokesman Col. Abdoul Ndiaye confirmed to the Associated Press that the first regional troops had crossed into Gambia and were on their way to the capital, Banjul. AP journalists saw at least 20 military vehicles gathered at the border town of Karang.

In his inaugural speech, which took place under heavy security, Barrow called on Jammeh to respect the will of the people and step aside. The new president also called on Gambia's armed forces to remain in their barracks as the regional military intervention got underway.

Shortly after the inauguration, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing "full support" to Barrow, calling on Jammeh to step down and condemning his attempts to usurp power. The resolution also backed the regional efforts to get Jammeh to respect the election results.

Outside Gambia's embassy in Dakar, Baal Jaabang held up a freshly framed portrait of Barrow, already printed with the words: "His Excellency Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of Gambia."

"I'm extremely delighted, so wonderfully happy today," he said. "But now the situation risks moving into fighting. No Gambian in the diaspora or back home wants our country to face fighting."

Barrow had come to Senegal last week at the urging of West African mediators, who had feared for his safety amid the political crisis.

He arrived at the embassy to cheers of joy from hundreds of Gambians who had gathered, with national flags, for a glimpse of the new president.

"Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world," Barrow said after the ceremony.

Barrow was declared the winner of the Dec. 1 election and at first was congratulated by Jammeh in a phone call aired on state television. …

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