Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh who said was going to rule the tiny West African nation for a ‘billion years’ has finally flown out of the country and gone into exile after been defeated in recent elections that resulted to a heavy political impasse.
So far there has been no clear agreement on where he would go, with Morocco, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania all mentioned as possibilities by diplomats.
Mr Jammeh arrived at the Banjul International Airport at 20:35pm GMT dressed in his usual white glowing gown along with his wife, Zineb Jammeh and close aides travelling with him.
Mr Jammeh was on-board Mauritanian Presidential flight that came to pick him out along with his family and Guinean President Alpha Conde who spent the night in the country after convincing him to relinquish power after all failed attempts earlier.
Among the aides gone on exile with Jammeh includes General Saul Badjie, State Guards Commander, Oumpa Mendy, Personal Protection Officer, Amadou Joof, the ADC to the First Lady and even Jimbe Jammeh, a so-called protocol officer and relative of Mr Jammeh. They are all according to reports, allowed to go with their entire family members on exile.
Jammeh finally accepted to hand power peacefully to President Adama Barrow, who is waiting in neighbouring Senegal for the strongman of 22 years to leave.
Marathon talks on Friday with with Guinea’s Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz yielded agreement that he would go, prompting President Conde to remained in Banjul until on Saturday to hammer out the finer details and fly out with Mr Jammeh.
The agreement “foresees the departure of Yahya Jammeh from The Gambia for an African country with guarantees for himself, his family and his relatives,” Mauritanian President Aziz said on return to Nouakchott in remarks quoted by the official AMI news agency.
Many Gambians are keen to see Jammeh who controlled and ruled the nation for 22 years with iron-fist be refused amnesty for crimes committed during his tenure, which was rife with rights abuses.
When Mr Jammeh arrives in Guinea today where he owns a house, he will have joined a long list of troubled former leaders the country has played host to such as Amilcal Cabral of Guinea Bissau to several Sierra Leonean leaders and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.