Thursday 14 December 2017

New Gambian president orders army to show 'loyalty'

Adama Barrow is sworn in as President of Gambia at Gambia's embassy in Dakar Senegal in this image taken from TV. Photo: RTS via AP
Adama Barrow is sworn in as President of Gambia at Gambia's embassy in Dakar Senegal in this image taken from TV. Photo: RTS via AP

Colin Freeman in Banjul

Gambia's newly sworn-in president last night ordered the country's armed forces to abandon any loyalty to former dictator Yahya Jammeh, as troops from neighbouring Senegal crossed the border to oust him.

Adama Barrow, who won Gambia's elections in December but left the country last week for fear that Mr Jammeh's security forces might kill him, took his oath of office in an improvised ceremony at the modest Gambian embassy office in Senegal.

In a brief speech made in a cramped function room, he hailed his inauguration as a "victory for the nation", but warned Mr Jammeh's security forces they would now be deemed "rebels" if they did not switch sides. Mr Barrow spoke as a force of more than 1,000 troops, mandated by the regional Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) power bloc, crossed into Gambian territory after two days massed at the border.

They have instructions to march on the capital, Banjul, if Mr Jammeh does not step down.

Last night, Abdou Ndiaye, a Senegalese army spokesman, confirmed the move over the Gambian frontier.

Mr Barrow warned that any soldiers who resisted his commands would be legitimate targets for the ECOWAS force.

"I call personally on the armed forces and security agencies to be loyal to their republic and I command all members of the armed forces to demonstrate their loyalty to me," he said.

Telegraph.co.uk

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