The Latest: Defeated Gambia leader says relinquishing power

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2017 8:39 PM
The Latest: Defeated Gambia leader says relinquishing power

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — The Latest on Gambia's political crisis, sparked by defeated leader Yahya Jammeh's refusal to leave office (all times local):

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1:40 a.m.

Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh says he has decided to relinquish power, after hours of talks with regional leaders and the threat by a regional military force to make him leave.

Jammeh spoke early Saturday on state television, saying that "I think it is not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed."

He did not give details on any deal that was struck, and it is not clear when Adama Barrow, who beat Jammeh in last month's election, will return from neighboring Senegal to take power.

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1:05 a.m.

Mauritania's president says Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh will step down and leave the country.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz spoke with reporters early Saturday at the airport shortly before boarding his flight home. The Mauritanian leader called it a victory for Gambia. He had been part of talks to try to persuade Jammeh to cede power to Adama Barrow, who won election last month.

A State House official close to the situation says Jammeh would leave within three days, possibly Saturday with Guinean President Alpha Conde, who was spending the night in Gambia's capital, Banjul. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak about the situation to press.

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9:45 p.m.

Senegalese foreign affairs ministry officials who have briefed on the situation say Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh has agreed to cede power but is not leaving the country tonight.

The officials spoke late Friday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press about the issue.

Jammeh was expected to make a statement later Friday.

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9 p.m.

Gambia's newly inaugurated leader has spoken to members of the country's diaspora in neighboring Senegal, telling them that "the rule of fear has been vanished from the Gambia for good."

Adama Barrow remains in Senegal as efforts continue to get defeated leader Yahya Jammeh to agree to cede power. Barrow said he had to be inaugurated at Gambia's embassy in Senegal on Thursday because Jammeh refused to cooperate or provide security for a ceremony inside the country.

Barrow urged fellow Gambians to return home and rebuild their lives.

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7:55 p.m.

A Senegalese government official confirms that defeated Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh has agreed to cede power to the country's newly inaugurated leader, Adama Barrow.

The official says final arrangements are being made to the agreement. The official spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the press.

— Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal

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6:50 p.m.

A United Nations official with knowledge of the process says mediators are making good progress to facilitate a peaceful transition of power in Gambia.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the process.

Regional leaders have been meeting with defeated leader Yahya Jammeh in a last-ditch effort to get him to step aside.

The red carpets are being rolled up at the airport in the capital, Banjul.

— Carley Petesch in Banjul, Gambia

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5:40 p.m.

Red carpets have been laid out at the airport in Gambia's capital in what appears to be preparations for a speech and a departure.

West African leaders have been meeting with defeated leader Yahya Jammeh in an effort to persuade him to cede power to newly inaugurated leader Adama Barrow. A regional force is poised to push him out if talks fail.

The red carpets are laid out for a wooden podium and for the Mauritanian plane that brought the leaders to Banjul.

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5:30 p.m.

Gambia's newly inaugurated leader has prayed for peace in the country he has yet to return to.

The Twitter account run by supporters of Adama Barrow posted a photo Friday evening of Barrow praying with Senegal President Macky Sall.

"We prayed for peace in Gambia," the tweet says.

Barrow was sworn in Thursday at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, where he has been for several days amid fears for his safety.

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5:15 p.m.

More African nations are recognizing Gambia's newly inaugurated leader.

South Africa says it recognizes Adama Barrow as the legitimate president of Gambia and "looks forward to a close working relationship with him and the people of The Gambia."

The statement from South Africa's foreign affairs department also "urges former President Yahya Jammeh to cooperate with ECOWAS, and should step down peacefully."

It says it hopes Barrow "returns to his country to assume the role democratically bestowed on him by the people of The Gambia." Barrow is in neighboring Senegal, where he was inaugurated Thursday.

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4:50 p.m.

Gambia's chief of defense forces has pledged his allegiance to the country's new president Friday, a major shift as mediation continued to persuade defeated Yahya Jammeh to cede power.

Ousmane Badjie told The Associated Press the country's security services all support the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow and said they would not fight a regional force that is poised to push out Jammeh if the current negotiations talks fail.