Gambia’s President Jammeh declares state of emergency

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh appears on state television and declares state of emergency, one day before official mandate ends.

BANJUL, GAMBIA (JANUARY 17, 2017) (GRTS) – Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency on Tuesday (January 17), after refusing to hand power to opposition leader Adama Barrow who won an election on Dec. 1.

The precise terms of the state of emergency and its implications for Thursday’s (January 19) inauguration of the president-elect were not immediately known.

Earlier on Tuesday Gambia’s ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment had resigned from Jammeh’s government, state television said, as regional forces prepared to oust the veteran leader unless he steps down by Thursday (January 19).

Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, has become isolated at home and abroad after he refused to accept his Dec. 1 election defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow.

The surprise loss was seen as a boost for democracy in the former British colony, which has had only two presidents since it gained independence in 1965.

But Jammeh’s defiance has sent the tiny West African country into crisis. As well as the defections from the government, hundreds of Gambians have fled abroad, fearing violence.