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Jammeh Leaves Gambia

Mr Jammeh on board the plane at Banjul Airport. Photo credit: @mishasomerville

President Yahya Jammeh has left Banjul this evening after he agreed to step aside on Friday to avoid military confrontation with Senegalese led regional troops.

A small crowd of his supporters and relatives were at the airport to see him off. And as he boarded the flight, some people in the country started crying and waved goodbye to him.

This is the last time many will ever set eyes on him.

Mr Jammeh is going into exile in Guinea Conakry.  Some reports said he is going to Equitorial Guinea.

He is in the plane with Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and his wife Zineb Jammeh .

Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who helped to broker the deal, told Mauritanian state news agency that “the accord sees the departure of Jammeh from Gambia for an African country with guarantees for his family, those close to him and himself. He can come back to the country as he pleases.”

In his farewell message to Gambians, Mr Jammeh, 51, who has ruled the small West African nation of less than two million people that he was relinquishing power in their supreme interest  and for peace and security of the country.

He said he has always put above and everything else the independence of the free and proud people of the Gambia and will always work together with Gambians to defend that independence they have so dearly fought for and won.

Jammeh at Banjul Airport (Umaru Fofana)

He added:“My decision today was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you the Gambian people and our dear country taking into consideration my prayer and desire that peace and security continues to rain in the Gambia. At a time when we are witnessing chaos and trouble in other parts of African and the world, the peace and security of the Gambia is our collective heritage, which we must jealously guard and defend.”

No apology

Mr Jammeh who ruled the Gambia for 22 years with an iron fist has been accused of committing serious human rights abuses including arbitrary arrest and prolong detention, torture and murder of critics and opponents including.

He has however refused to apologise to his victims saying: ” I submit myself only to the judgement of Allah (SWT) Whose judgement is above and beyond man, time and history. The Almighty Allah (SWT) is the only Guarantor of truth and justice.”