Banjoul (Agenzia Fides) - The West African Countries are intensifying the pressure so that outgoing President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, cedes power on January 19 after losing the elections on December 1, won by Adama Barrow (see Fides 5/12/2016).
At first Jammeh, in power for 22 years, had congratulated Barrow, then instead on December 9 said he did not recognize the victory of the President-elect and appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice to invalidate the vote. Today, January 10, the Court shall meet to decide on the appeal presented by the outgoing President.
Meanwhile one of the Economic Community of West African States delegations (CEDEAO/ECOWAS) will travel tomorrow to Banjul to convince Jammeh to give up power.
The delegation is composed of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (who is also President of CEDEAO/ ECOWAS) and former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, who along with Buhari have been asked by CEDEAO/ECOWAS to mediate in the Gambian crisis.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has not escluded the use of force on behalf of its neighboring states to force Jammeh to surrender. This hypothesis, however, is rejected by His Exc. Mgr. Mgr. Paul Abel Mamba, Bishop of Ziguinchor, capital of Casamance, the Senegalese region which borders with Gambia (this Country forms a wedge that divides Casamance from the rest of Senegal, a legacy of French and English colonial divisions).
"We must not favor the military option", said Mgr. Memba in the homily of the Mass celebrated on January 1, near the border with Gambia. "There are all the components for a violent confrontation that will destroy many lives and will not bring calm in the Country", warned the Bishop, who concluded by inviting everyone to pray for peace. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 10/01/2017)