Adama Barrow, the man who won The Gambia’s disputed election, has been sworn in as president.
He took the oath at the country’s embassy in Senegal on Thursday, January 19, 2017 ordering Gambian soldiers to remain in their barracks.
He has been recognised internationally. But Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down and his term in office has been extended by parliament.
West African leaders have so far failed to persuade Mr Jammeh to quit. They have threatened to remove him by force.
Mr Jammeh lost the 1 December poll, according to the Gambian electoral commission. But he wants the results annulled, citing errors in the electoral process.
Mr Barrow took oath at the Gambian embassy in Dakar.
In his inauguration speech, he ordered all members of The Gambia’s armed forces to remain in their barracks.
“Those found illegally holding arms will be considered rebels,” he warned.
Western ambassadors to Senegal, the UN envoy for West Africa and officials from the regional bloc ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) attended the ceremony, while hundreds of Gambian expatriates gathered outside the compound.
West African military forces, stationed at the border, say they are ready to enforce a transfer of power in The Gambia, a popular beach destination among European holidaymakers.
Ecowas and Senegal are seeking backing from the UN Security Council for intervention. However, some diplomats said if Mr Barrow, 51, requested help after his inauguration, such approval would not be needed.
Nigeria said on Thursday that its “armed reconnaissance air force are over Gambia”, the AFP reports.
“They have the capacity to strike,” Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ayodele Famuyiwa told the news agency.
Meanwhile, Mr Jammeh’s term in office has been extended for three months by a two-third majority in parliament. Some experts say he still has a legitimate claim to be called the country’s president.
Gambian Information Minister Sidie Njie told the BBC on Thursday that Mr Jammeh would not leave his office.
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