Monday 1 May 2017

Gambia celebrates president's arrival

Gambian President Adama Barrow waves as he rides his motorcade through crowds of hundreds of thousands after arriving at Banjul airport in Gambia after flying in from Dakar, Senegal. Photo: AP
Gambian President Adama Barrow waves as he rides his motorcade through crowds of hundreds of thousands after arriving at Banjul airport in Gambia after flying in from Dakar, Senegal. Photo: AP

Sonya Hillis

Billboards across Gambia's capital are declaring a February 18 ceremony to mark the inauguration of the country's new leader, a day after his triumphant arrival.

Hundreds of thousands turned out to greet President Adama Barrow, a week after he took the oath of office in neighbouring Senegal. Long-time ruler Yahya Jammeh, who clung to power despite losing December elections, finally flew into exile over the weekend.

Gambia has high hopes for Mr Barrow, who has vowed to create greater freedoms in this tiny West African nation and reverse many of Mr Jammeh's actions, including his declaration that the country would withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Mr Barrow also has said the new government would look into alleged abuses under Mr Jammeh, who has been accused of overseeing a system that tortured and even killed opponents.

"Much has to be done to tell the people their vote counts," spokesman Halifa Sallah said. The first step was announcing the cabinet, he added.

Residents of the country of 1.9 million, the smallest on the African mainland, have been exuberant after more than two decades of life under Jammeh.

Irish Independent

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