Gambia Celebrates Barrow's Inauguration

Manila Bulletin, February 19, 2017 | Go to article overview

Gambia Celebrates Barrow's Inauguration


By Agence France-Presse

Thousands celebrated Saturday as new Gambian President Adama Barrow retook his oath of office, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle.

February 18 is also the anniversary of The Gambia's independence from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box.

The festivities began Saturday morning at Independence Stadium in Bakau, west of the capital, and were attended by several African heads of state as well as high-ranking diplomats.

The guest of honour was Senegalese President Macky Sall. Tens of thousands packed the venue, singing and dancing, an AFP correspondent said.

Barrow told the crowd he would probe human rights abuses under Barrow's mercurial and despotic rule spanning 22 years.

"A Human Rights Commission will be established without delay," to track people who were missing of had disappeared after being arrested, Barrow said.

"Orders have already been given for all those detained without trial to be released," he added.

Jubilant supporters said it was the start of a new era.

Symbolic pigeons

"This event we are celebrating today is the rebirth of democracy and the rule of law in the Gambia," said Sainey Marenah, a journalist who returned home from Senegal where he spent four years in exile.

Crowds of hundreds began to gather as early as 3:00 am. …

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