The Gambia’s embattled leader, Yahya Jammeh has announced his decision to leave power, weeks after refusing to step down after losing the recent election.
Mr. Jammeh’s announcement came after hours of last-ditch talks with regional leaders and the threat by a regional military force to make him leave.
“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” he said in a statement broadcast on state television early on Saturday.
The new president, Adama Barrow, had earlier declared that “the rule of fear” was over and that Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years, had agreed to leave.
Barrow was sworn in at Gambia’s embassy in Dakar in neighbouring Senegal on Thursday.
A State House official close to the situation told the AFP news agency that Jammeh would leave within three days, possibly on Saturday with Guinean President Alpha Conde, who had travelled to Gambia’s capital, Banjul, for negotiations.
Earlier on Friday, Gambia’s chief of defence forces Ousmane Badjie pledged his allegiance to the country’s new president, a major shift as mediation continued to persuade Jammeh to cede power.