Troops have now been deployed in the capital of the Gambia after President Yahya Jammeh suddenly rejected his defeat in last week’s election. President-elect Adama Barrow said he’d the support of the army after his surprise victory December 1, telling the AFP that the country’s defense chief had called him to offer his backing.
“He said the security of this nation is assured by the armed forces,” said Barrow said. “He said he was loyal to President Yahya (Jammeh) because he was the elected president” and “now that I am elected in to office by the Gambian people, he will support me.”
Jammeh initially accepted the result of the vote, which put an end to his 22 years in power. Now, however, he is calling for a fresh vote and appears unlikely to actually give up control of the small west African nation, the Guardian observes. The US embassy in Banjul, the capital, has called on the army to respect the rule of law in the country and the rule of the people, BBC’s Channel 4 reported. Speaking on state TV December 9, Jammeh announced his “total rejection” of the results, and called for “fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”
Jammeh already faces accusations of serious human rights abuses. “I wish to inform you that the outgoing president has no constitutional authority to reject the result of the election and order a fresh election to be held,” Barrow said after Yammeh’s statement, according to Channel 4. Gambia’s neighbor Senegal has called for a UN Security Council meeting on the burgeoning crisis.