West Africa to Ensure Jammeh Keeps Assets, Won’t Be Sanctioned

  • Ecowas, UN, AU pledge to keep Gambian ex-leader safe
  • Jammeh stops in Guinea before flying to Equatorial Guinea

West African nations pledged to ensure that Yahya Jammeh keeps his assets and won’t be prosecuted or sanctioned after the former Gambian president relinquished power and left the country, bringing an end to a post-election standoff that sparked a military intervention.

The Economic Community of West African States said it would “prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully belonging to former President Jammeh or his family and those of his cabinet members,” guarantee his safety and security and let him return to Gambia when he chooses to do so. The joint statement by Ecowas, the African Union and the United Nations was published late Saturday on the UN website following Jammeh’s departure to Guinea.

Hours after arriving in Guinea, Jammeh’s airplane flew onward to Equatorial Guinea, according to the news website Guineenews, which cited airport officials. Equatorial Guinea is a tiny oil-producing nation that’s led by Africa’s longest-serving ruler, Teodoro Obiang.

Jammeh relinquished power in a televised address early on Saturday after Guinean President Alpha Conde and Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz flew to the Gambian capital, Banjul, to persuade him to let the winner of last month’s presidential election take office. West African military forces entered the country the day before but halted their intervention outside Banjul to give time to the last-ditch mediation efforts.

Military Action

Pressure intensified on Jammeh after Adama Barrow, winner of the Dec. 1 election, took his oath of office in neighboring Senegal on Thursday and the UN Security Council adopted a resolution giving “full support” to Ecowas to enforce the outcome of the vote. Jammeh surprised the nation of fewer than 2 million people by initially acknowledging his loss and changing his mind a week later, saying he objected to the results.

Barrow said Sunday on Twitter that he planned to return to Gambia “very soon.”

The regional states decided to take military action after Jammeh declared a 90-day state of emergency late Tuesday. Nigeria and Ghana sent men and fighter jets to Senegal, while a convoy of Senegalese soldiers rolled into Gambia on Friday.