Banjul, Gambia – The West African country of Gambia’s newest president, Adama Barrow, has extended the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) peacekeeping coalition force led by its neighbor Senegal another three months to further assist President Barrow and his cabinet to continue to smooth transition into power. President Barrow who won the Gambian electoral primary in December 2016 requested the assistance of ECOWAS peacekeepers in ousting the late enigmatic albeit eccentric president, Yahya Jammeh who refused to leave the office of the president claiming western influence and corruption led to his loss in the run for re-election.
In response to Jammeh’s defiance, Nigeria quickly dispatched one of its warships off the coast of Gambia then called for an emergency meeting with neighboring Senegal and other West African countries began rapidly deploying a ‘joint force’ to intervene in Gambia militarily if President Jammeh did not step down. In response to these events, Jammeh instead declared a state of emergency throughout the Gambia and dug into the presidential palace in Banjul with Gambian security forces loyal to him. The ECOWAS peace-keeping forces already massed along the Senegal-Gambia borders responded in kind after a United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting that approved ECOWAS’s request for military intervention and entered into Gambia and began making their way to the capital city just after President Barrow was sworn in as president at the Gambian embassy in Senegal.
The Standby Force of the ECOWAS coalition was praised by President Barrow and his cabinet in a press release issued last night, stating: “The Government of The Gambia expresses deep appreciation to ECOWAS, the AU and the United Nations for the support provided to The Gambia to ensure that the verdict of the people delivered at the polls of 1st December 2016 is upheld.” The press release went on to describe the role of the Standby Force and informing the public that “The Standby Force has integrated itself into the Security and Military fabric of the Country and its personnel have blended well with the Security sectors of The Gambia and are keenly sharing knowledge and experience in enhancing national unity, peace and stability in the country. The Standby force is mandated to remain in the service of President Adama Barrow, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of The Gambia, until the necessary conditions for the effective exercise of his power as President of the Republic of The Gambia are met.”
The press release also indicated that President Barrow’s three-month extension of the peacekeeping force is subject to renewal as senior officials at the United Nations Security Council are already considering extending that mandate to six months if needed. The Gambia and its political party transition is quickly becoming a success story as it shows that “African solutions to African problems” can actually be achieved which could turn the tide for many African countries suffering under cruel despots that cling to their last vestiges of power.
Image courtesy of The Telegraph