Gambia’s Jammeh Negotiating Amnesty With Mauritanian President

Yahya Jammeh leaves a polling booth in Banjul, on Dec. 1, 2016.

Photographer: Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is negotiating stepping down with Mauritania’s president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as regional forces mass on the West African country’s borders to force him to cede power to Adama Barrow, who won an election last month, two people familiar with the situation said.

Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia since 1994, is seeking a security detail and clearance to take his assets, the regional officials said, asking not to be identified because a public announcement has not been made. His request to stay in his home village of Kanilai has been denied, they said. It wasn’t clear where he will go.

Barrow was due to be inaugurated Thursday but Jammeh had, after initially accepting the result, disputed the result of the vote. The Economic Community of West African States, which includes Senegal and Nigeria, has insisted that the result be respected and has threatened to take military action if necessary.

Mauritania’s government spokesman, Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheick, wouldn’t comment on speculation of an amnesty at a press conference in the country’s capital Nouakchott on Thursday.

“There is a certain optimism and efforts are continuing,” he said. “All the parties are convinced of the need to find a solution.”

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