Embattled Gambian Leader Declared State of Emergency

Banjul, The Gambia – Gambian embattled President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, citing foreign interference in a presidential election he lost to opponent Adama Barrow last month.

Jammeh made his announcement on state television, two days before Barrow is due to take power.

Jammeh who is also married to Moroccan, refused to step down despite strong indications from the West African block ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) that he could be forced out militarily if he does not honor the will of the Gambian people and respect a peaceful constitutional change of power.

Meanwhile, Morocco has offered The Gambia’s president asylum in return for accepting election defeat and stepping down, according to sources.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and the North African kingdom’s foreign intelligence chief Yassine Mansouri have been conducting “a delicate mission in Banjul”, the Gambian capital, for several days.

Morocco wants Jammeh “to accept his election defeat in return for a golden retirement in Morocco”, diplomatic sources revealed.

The initiative comes after an international outcry over Jammeh’s refusal to step down.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI visited The Gambia in 2006, and the two nations have long held strong ties.

A spokesman for The Gambia’s opposition leader Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, has vowed that the president-elect’s inauguration will go ahead as planned on January 19.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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