Gambia: Nigeria, Senegal, other ECOWAS members set for military force to oust Jammeh

Photo credit: Asoko Insight
Photo credit: Asoko Insight

West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, has put standby military forces on alert in case Gambian President Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on January 19.

The ECOWAS commission president, Marcel de Souza, said this on Malian TV Thursday night.

Mr. Jammeh has vowed to stay in power despite losing a December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow, raising the possibility that regional powers may intervene to oust him if diplomacy does not succeed in persuading him to leave.

“We have put standby forces on alert if he does not (step down) on January 19 when his mandate ends,” De Souza said.

“No one has the right to oppose the will of the people.”

Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was seen across Africa as a moment of hope.

But the president changed his mind a week later and said again on Tuesday that he would not step down, rebuffing efforts by West African leaders to persuade him.

Mr. Jammeh said the electoral count was flawed and that ECOWAS has no right to meddle in Gambia’s internal affairs.

The regional bloc has mandated Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as mediator to offer Jammeh an “honourable exit”, but if he does not take it then forces might be deployed, Mr. De Souza said.

The BBC quoted De Souza as saying in an interview that Senegalese troops would lead any military intervention. Senegal is Gambia’s only territorial neighbour and has a frequently stormy relationship with the country, having sent troops there during a 1981 coup.

Senegal has indicated that military action would be an absolute last resort.

Diplomats say ECOWAS would probably seek approval from the U.N. Security Council for the use of force. ECOWAS deployed troops, led by Nigeria, to Liberia and Sierra Leone during civil wars in the 1990s, setting a precedent for possible intervention.

A first step for raising pressure once the handover date passes is likely to be targeted sanctions by the U.N. and others, diplomats say, also raising the possibility that Mr. Jammeh could be offered asylum abroad.

Mr. Barrow’s supporters suggested on Thursday that the president might not immediately be prosecuted for alleged human rights abuses during his rule.

“Justice is absolutely essential … but we are going to take the route to truth and reconciliation,” said coalition spokesman Halifa Sallah at a meeting with the African Bar Association.

Gambia’s Supreme Court will hear a legal challenge on January 10 from Mr. Jammeh’s ruling party which wants to overturn the election result.


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  • serubawon70

    We need to hear from the Nigerian government if indeed Nigeria has decided to intervene militarily in Gambia given its inability at the moment to eliminate a band of outlaws occupying Sambisa forest and carrying out bombings in the North East

    • Sam

      This is the difference… The guys in Sambisa are playing hide and seek, while Jammeh’s military men will face an invasion head-on. That kind of battle is won by the side who posseses the best military might, but hiding in a difficult terrain as does BH, rubishes your military power.

      • John A

        what will the worthless Nigeria army be doing in the Gambia

      • Ogom

        So you know exactly how Jammeh will fight?

        • CeeCee1818

          I’m hoping the Gambian army sides with the people, then Jammeh will be six feet under.

    • Rommel

      Has America won the guerilla warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan? is Russia not today bogged down in Syra?

      • John A

        keep defending that your failed spineless ceremonial leader.

        • bbounce

          you people will never accept facts… I just want to see you bastard carry arms and fight for a lost course again like the rebels of confederate in America after their leader surrender to a unconditional terms.
          facts will remain facts the truth can never be buried Buhari is doing the best anyone can do if you can appreciate little changes then you’re destined for misfortune.

  • Black Pope

    GEJ could have gotten the same treatment. He did the right.

    • Taylor

      You look sick in the head.

  • thusspokez

    West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, has put standby military forces on alert in case Gambian President Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on January 19.

    Exccellent idea! They should start joint military exercise around Gambia’s borders to give him a taste of what is to come.

    • FIDEL

      The Gambian President only said that he would not leave. He has not said he would spill the blood of any Nigerian on the streets of Gambia and neither has he pledged he would make the streets in his country rivers of blood as Mohammadu Buhari declared in the run up to 2015 elections. President Jammeh of Gambia has not killed and buried in mass graves any peaceful unarmed protesters as retired Brigadier Mohammadu Buahri has done to 279 protesting Biafrans in Onitsha and Enugu (Eastern Nigeria). President Jammeh has not directed the Army of his country to engage is mass killing and burial in mass graves of any religious sect in Gambia as M. Buhari has done in Kaduna state. Certainly, President Jammeh has not turned the blind eye and left herdsmen from his tribe to kill Gambians at random on their farms, abduct and murder traditional rulers and burn Christian communities in hid country as Buhari has done in Nigeria (Not a single Fulani Herdsman is in court or in jail despite over 16,321 killings thus far).

      Clearly, ECOWAS is drunk and their action against Gambia is misdirected. It ought to be directed towards Brigadier Mohammadu Buhari of Nigeria who is on a killing spree with his unquenchable appetite for killing Nigerians, disobeying court orders and jailing members of the opposition – selective vendetta.

      • CeeCee1818

        So just leave him alone when he’s been ousted?

    • CeeCee1818

      Hear hear! Please film the scene so we can replay it for any African leader who won’t step down after his term is over, as a lesson.

  • sammyctu ode

    This African Bayard must be taken out by force if he fails to go. We don’t need illiterates in Africa anymore. PMB must deploy the best behaved Nigerian troops who will not go there and start raping Gambian girls and women.

    • John A

      Hypocrite, is your buhari educated?

    • CeeCee1818

      I agree, take him out. I bet Gambian soldiers will assist in removing him. Dig a grave for him while at it.

    • Janet Kerubo

      If that be the case start with Ali Bongo, Joseph Kabila,

  • FIDEL

    The Gambian President only said that he would leave based on the verdict of the Supreme court in his country as he has challenged the results in the courts. That is a civilized thing to do. ECOWAS should stop behaving like misguided crooks who are tele-guided by US and Britain who hate Jammeh because he calls them by their real names – Unrepentant parasitic imperialists.

    President Jammeh, jas not said he would spill the blood of any Nigerian on the streets of Gambia and neither has he pledged he would make the streets in his country rivers of blood as Mohammadu Buhari declared in the run up to 2015 elections. President Jammeh of Gambia has not killed and buried in mass graves any peaceful unarmed protesters as retired Brigadier Mohammadu Buahri has done to 279 protesting Biafrans in Onitsha and Enugu (Eastern Nigeria). President Jammeh has not directed the Army of his country to engage is mass killing and burial in mass graves of any religious sect in Gambia as M. Buhari has done in Kaduna state. Certainly, President Jammeh has not turned the blind eye and left herdsmen from his tribe to kill Gambians at random on their farms, abduct and murder traditional rulers and burn Christian communities in hid country as Buhari has done in Nigeria (Not a single Fulani Herdsman is in court or in jail despite over 16,321 killings thus far).

    Clearly, ECOWAS is drunk and their action against Gambia is misdirected. It ought to be directed towards Brigadier Mohammadu Buhari of Nigeria who is on a killing spree with his unquenchable appetite for killing Nigerians, disobeying court orders and jailing members of the opposition – selective vendetta.

    • Raymond

      So, bcos

  • Sharp Sharp

    Buharia is hardly the person to pontificate about Democratic ethos !!! This is some kind of sick stuff !!!

  • Basil Ogbanufe

    Military action is very wrong.

    • CeeCee1818

      Why? If the guy won’t move after the Gambian people have spoken, by all means bring in the military!

      • think2Wice

        A daft, dumb and brainless slave who’s master calls to dig the grave of a fellow slave has not the presence of mind to knows that someday it will be his turn. Buhari has committed more evil and supervised and given orders to kill far more Nigerians than Jammeh is rumoured to have done.

      • Basil Ogbanufe

        This is interference. Two wrongs never make a right. Jammeh has gone to court, let us all wait for the court’s verdict. If the court gives it to Jammeh so be it. If to Barrow then he becomes the new president. But certainly no interference. The people of Gambia must be allowed to develop their democracy.

        The only time foreign troops should move in is to avert lawlessness and not to change leadership/government.

  • Raymond

    Jammeh……remember gbagbo.

  • Watch man

    Nigeria should stop interfering in other people’s affair, if not they should expect the same treatment when the need arises. There could be other means to persuade the Jammeh to leave office, not by military might. This NWO of a thing is dancing to the tune of the western globalizing neocons.

  • Wilfred Bankole Ademokun

    Shameless tyrant called JAMMEH [DORO PRESIDO OF GAMBIA] will end up in jail like GBAGBO OF IVORY COAST, DON’T ALLOW YOUR WIFE AND SOME IDIOTS IN YOUR CABINET TO PUSH YOU TOO FAR. Time to step aside, your people don’t want you again, they are fed up of your corrupt government. PLEASE LEAVE, AND LET GAMBIA PEOPLE ENJOY PEACE IN THEIR OWN WORLD.

  • Abdullah Musa

    Irony of ironies!
    Already Ecowas and other world bodies have elected to be Gambia’s Supreme Court.
    They passed judgement against a complainant without seeing his evidence.
    Jammeh might be a tyrant, but it seems this election was predetermined by others outside Gambia.

  • Man_Enough

    It is better to support a Gambian factional force against jameh than to interfere directly. Gambia is a sovereign state for goodness sake.

  • design

    This man has mental illness and we continue failing to recognize. Just like we did with Mobutu, Amin and others. We must take a lesson from history and use all available means to boot this man including his execution before he takes millions of people with him. Africa wake up!!!!!!!!

  • Luther Jens-Uwe Nigeria Lagos

    I believe that in the 10 01.2017 to expected but the ECOWAS
    Court decision will wait.
    We speak here of democracy and also the members of Parliament
    Comply with this need to ECOWAS and the United Nations.
    To determine or decide the ECOWAS should or can you
    say that these decisions on behalf of the African Union
    AU and OAU are taken.
    The question we should ask ourselves is whether we need the OAU to the United Nations
    It is only a sector of politics interfering not only in Africa
    African continental society but also outside politically to
    the agencies of the United Nations (UN) as Africa members
    the States in this areas outstanding work has do in
    all sections of the National Convention of Africa.

  • Taylor

    I laughed on reading at President Buhari was the one sent to mediate on democratic issues in another country. Wrong choice absolutely. How will you expect Jammeh to listen to Buhari when he is aware that his visitor has not conducted any free and fair election in Nigerian since he entered office. Few months ago his government rejected ECOWAS court ruling and nothing has happened. Will Nigeria contribute soldiers in the Gambian crisis? Surely we lack morality to do that. One good turn deserves another.