A West African regional military force entered Gambia’s capital city of Banjul and took control of the presidential palace on Sunday, one day after the departure of former president Yahya Jammeh.

Reports said that it seemed the international military force from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met some difficulties while trying to enter the palace, as the presidential guards put up a barricade.

“Our commander is inside, they’re discussing,” said one of Senegalese soldiers at the premises of the palace.

As the head of the presidential guard, Ansuman Tamba, was nowhere to be found, the head of the ECOWAS force had many hours of talks with the acting commander before the force troops were allowed in.

“There’s no problem here. We want peace. Peace is the best thing,” a Gambian soldier at the gate of the State House said while talks were ongoing.

Jammeh plunged his country, known as the Smiling Coast of West Africa, into a political crisis, after rejecting the presidential election result in December which declared Adama Barrow as president.

Two ECOWAS mediation efforts had failed. The Senegal-led ECOWAS force troops were then deployed at the border with Gambia, waiting for an order to remove Jammeh by force had Friday’s talks fail.

But Jammeh left the capital city of Banjul Saturday night, giving way for Barrow to return from Senegal’s Dakar and assume power as the West African country’s third president since independence in 1965.

Before leaving the country, Jammeh appeared on TV on Friday to announce that he was relinquishing power “in the supreme national interest of Gambia.”

A few hours after Jammeh left the city, the ECOWAS force troops started entering Gambia from multiple border points, combing the streets with armored vehicles.

No incident of resistance was reported as the troops have seized key military barracks and installations.

Halifa Sallah, the spokesman for Barrow, said earlier in the day that even though there was no threat of conflict in the country, it was important to ensure the security of Barrow.

“Forces are in Gambia,” he said, “I was told that it’s not an invasion force. They’re going to collaborate with the security forces in Gambia.”
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Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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