Jammeh has agreed to leave, new president tweets

Jammeh has agreed to leave, new president tweets

Jammeh has agreed to leave, new president tweets

Troops massed along Gambia's borders as negotiations were underway early Thursday for President Yahya Jammeh to turn power over to businessman Adama Barrow, who won the country's December 1 election. Barrow, who was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy in Senegal yesterday, will now be able to enter the country and take up the presidency.

Regional leaders made two unsuccessful visits to Gambia in attempts to convince Jammeh to cede power.

After 11th-hour talks in Banjul, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel flew on to Dakar where he met with Barrow for talks at which Senegalese President Macky Sall was also present, the private RFM radio station reported.

President Adama Barrow has said the days when The Gambia was ruled with fear was over.

Earlier on Thursday, sources told Al Jazeera that Isatou Njie Saidy, Gambia's Vice President since 1997, had quit, becoming the highest level official to abandon Jammeh's camp in his standoff with Barrow, who won last month's presidential election.

Adama Barrow defeated Jammeh in the December 2016 presidential election, but the latter has rejected the result and declared a state of emergency, despite threats of military intervention from regional powers. Some of his supporters suggested that they would be willing to fight Jammeh's forces if necessary.

It was not clear how Barrow will travel to Gambia.

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Mr Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has offered to step aside once before only to change his mind later.

The deadline was set by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional grouping backed by the United Nations.

At his inauguration President Barrow appealed to the ECOWAS, African Union, UN, and particularly the Security Council to help oust Jammeh and enforce the will of the Gambians and restore constitutional order. But by Thursday morning, the pressure on Yahya Jammeh mounted as the country lurched toward a political crisis.

Gambia's president-elect, who won the 1 December 2016 election, is now in Senegal under protection as ECOWAS troops have entered the tiny West African country to force Jammeh out as his term elapses today.

Still, Aziz, Mauritania's president, said his Wednesday meeting with Jammeh left him hopeful.

According to Ndiaye, servicemen taking part in the ECOWAS "Restore Democracy" military operation in Gambia were striking military targets and were not meeting any resistance on Thursday.

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