UK issues Travel Alert While Regional Powers Threaten “serious consequences” for Jammeh
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a travel advice ‘‘against all but essential travel to the Gambia due to ongoing political uncertainty and potential military intervention,” africanews has reported.
A statement from the FCO read in part, ‘‘If you’re currently in The Gambia you should leave by commercial means if you have no essential need to remain. The potential for military intervention and civil disturbance is high and could result in Banjul International Airport being closed at short notice.
‘‘You should follow events closely, take extra care, keep in regular contact with your tour operator and airline and continue to monitor travel advice and social media updates in case tensions rise as the current political deadlock continues,’‘ they advised.
Less than 24 hours to Barrow’s inauguration in Banjul, out-going President YahyaJammeh has declared a state of emergency in The Gambia.
In a televised address on state TV on Tuesday, he said that the state of emergency will start from January 17 to April 17.
“Under this state of public emergency, civil liberties are to be fully respected while all citizens and residents in The Gambia are banned from any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement to violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace,” he said.
Jammeh defended the declaration citing “the need to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum pending the determination of the petitions at the Supreme Court and the application for an injunction against swearing in Mr. Adama Barrow, until the Supreme Court decides on the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election results”.
The country’s National Assembly has also adopted and approved the state of emergency in defence of the out-going President.
The Assembly, in the resolution further condemned regional powers citing “the unlawful and malicious interference in the internal affairs of The Gambia by the AU Peace and Security Council, Government of the Republic of Senegal, and Senegal’s Representative at the UNSC.”
Meanwhile, Aljazeera has reported that Gambia's ministers for finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment have resigned from President YahyaJammeh's government, according to ministry sources and state television.
ECOWAS considers military action
Attempts by the West African bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediating team, led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and former President of Ghana John Mahama has proven futile with Jammeh taken a hard stance even against a possible Nigerian asylum.
This has forced ECOWAS leaders to consider a Senegalese-led military action but the out-going President has called it a “declaration of war” .
The African Union has also indicated it will not recognize Jammeh after Barrow’s inauguration on January 19 and threatened consequences for Jammeh.
In a statement issued after a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the (AU) council (for Peace and Security) also warned of "serious consequences in the event that his action causes any crisis that could lead to political disorder, humanitarian and human rights disaster, including loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties," Reuters reports.
But Jammeh has denounced the position of regional leaders saying that he is ready to defend his country against any aggression.
Aljazeera reports this:
After more than two decades in power, Jammeh, 51, lost a December 1 election to Barrow, a former real-estate agent.
After initially accepting the result, Jammeh later rejected it, alleging irregularities, and filed a petition to the Supreme Court which is due to be reviewed on January 10.
Barrow has insisted he will take office nine days later, as planned, with ECOWAS leaders set to attend the ceremony.
The UN Security Council has called on Jammeh to "fully respect" the election results and ensure Barrow's safety.
The electoral commission said Barrow obtained 222,708 votes (43.3 percent) compared with Jammeh's 208,487 (39.6 percent).
Jammeh has questioned the validity of the count after the electoral commission changed some results, even though it insists the outcome was not affected.
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