Guinean President Alpha Condeh is spending the night in Banjul after a day-long negotiation with Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh. He will leave the country on Saturday.
President Conde was in the Gambia with Mauritanian President Muhamad Ould Abdel Aziz negotiating with Mr Jammeh to peacefully hand over power to President Adama Barrow who was sworn-in on Thursday in Senegal.
It is not clear if Mauritanian President Aziz will also spent the night in Banjul.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have it that defeated President Yahya Jammeh has finally agreed to cede power to the newly sworn-in President Adama Barrow and fine details are being finalized for his departure on Saturday.
Earlier, the Red Carpet roll down to welcome and see off visiting dignitaries at the Banjul International Airport was folded off by soldiers and taken away, the Army Band disappeared from the airport, showing signs that the visiting leaders did not finish their mission and might not be flying out of the country anytime now.
Friday talks followed a halt on military intervention by the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS, to give peace a last chance and allow Presidents Conde and Aziz to convince Mr Jammeh.
A regional military force dubbed ‘Operation Restore Democracy’, was launched shortly after the former opposition figure was sworn in. The operation is aimed at installing the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, who was sworn-in on Thursday at the Gambian Embassy in neighboring Dakar, Senegal and flush out longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh who remains defiant to hand over power peacefully after losing the December 1st elections.
ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza who ordered the halt on military intervention to give peace a chance earlier said “We think that up until the last minute there is still a solution through dialogue. It’s out of the question that he stays in place. … We propose that he leaves in an honorable manner and with respect,” said de Souza, explaining the decision to suspend the advance to reporters in Dakar late on Thursday.
De Souza said a total of 7,000 troops from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Mali would be involved in the operation. Troops had already entered Gambia from the southeast, southwest and north before they were ordered to stop.