Yahya Jammeh gets a final deadline to step down On Friday to hand over power and agree to leave The Gambia or face military action

 Yahya Jammeh
 Yahya Jammeh

Gambia: West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh, who lost elections last month, until midday on Friday to hand over power and agree to leave The Gambia or face military action carried out by the regional bloc ECOWAS.

West African troops entered the country to bolster its new President Adama Barrow – who was sworn-in on Thursday – but military operations were suspended a few hours later in favour of a final diplomatic push to convince Jammeh, who has stubbornly refused to quit, to exit peacefully.

“We have suspended operations and given him an ultimatum,” said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“If by midday he doesn’t agree to leave The Gambia … we really will intervene militarily.”

Final talks were being led by Guinean President Alpha Conde in The Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Friday morning, according to de Souza.

He said a total of 7,000 troops along with tanks had been mobilised by Senegal and four other nations, which had crossed into the tiny tourist-friendly country on Thursday evening without resistance.

Support for the long-ruling leader has been crumbling. The army chief joined ordinary citizens celebrating in the streets on Thursday seven weeks after contested polls.

Source:Al Jazeera and news agencies

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