Gambian Army Won’t Fight ECOWAS’ Troops, Gambia’s Army Chief Says as Jammeh’s Lawyer Flees Country

Gambia’s Chief of Army Staff, Ousman Badjie said he would not order his men to fight other African troops if they enter Gambian territory.
He spoke Wednesday as Senegalese and other troops massed on his nation’s borders.
It has also emerged that lawyer representing Gambian President and his party at the Supreme Court, Edu Gomez, has fled the country.
The Senegalese troops backed by Nigerian Air Force and other African troops were on standby to move into The Gambia as President Yahya Jammeh approached a midnight deadline to stand down or face military action after refusing to leave at the end of his term.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Chief of Defence Staff, Badjie said, after eating dinner in a tourist district close to the capital, Banjul.
“I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men,” he added, stopping to pose for selfies with admirers while dressed in fatigues, beret and green t-shirt, according to those present.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute…I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men.
“If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up to surrender gesture.
Badjie is no stranger to controversy after appearing to declare support for president-elect Adama Barrow and then switching back to Jammeh.
He was recently barred from visiting Gambian peacekeepers in Darfur due to the sensitivity of The Gambia’s ongoing political crisis, which has seen Jammeh repeatedly refuse to step down despite losing a December 1 election to opponent Barrow.
“Our troops are on alert.The ultimatum takes effect at midnight,” when Jammeh’s mandate is due to expire, Senegal army spokesman Colonel Abdou Ndiaye said ahead of the deadline.
Meanwhile, Jammeh’s lawyer has fled the country and told him to step down immediately.
The latest to desert him is Edu Gomez, the lawyer representing him and his party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) in their attempt to have the country’s Supreme Court overturn the victory of Adama Barrow and stop his inauguration as President.
The lawyer, who has fled to Senegal, sent a letter to President Jammeh asking him to step down in the interest of peace
The letter read: “On Tuesday 17th January 2017, my son and I took a crucial decision to seek sanctuary in the sister Republic of Senegal. This was found necessary due to the mounting fear and rapidly increasing tension at every passing moment,” he wrote.
“The general perception is that after midnight on 18th January 2017, the mandate of President Yahya Jammeh would expire and President-elect Mr. Adama Barrow would be sworn-in as President, in line with the dictates of our constitution. Any attempt to interrupt this ceremony, it is clearly understood, opens the Gambia to attack from ECOWAS forces.
“As a legal practitioner representing President Jammeh and the APRC the party in the ongoing petition filed on his behalf at the Supreme Court of the Gambia, I have to admit that I was working under tremendous pressure and coercion. All the lawyers with established practices in the Gambia refused to be associated with the said petition. As a retainer for the ruling APRC party, I could not refuse the brief on professional grounds, despite my apprehension.”
“Having fortunately eluded the 24 hour military security around me and my family, I managed to arrive in Senegal where I now gained safety, respite and mental stability. In my present situation, I humbly and respectfully advise President Jammeh as the champion of peace he has been known to be to peacefully step aside in the interest of peace and safety of the Gambian people.
“Everything, except God’s Kingdom, comes to an end. I advocate for a peaceful end rather than a violent and gruesome end. Please in the name of Most Merciful God do not allow your legacy to be described as one where “pen of the sword dipped in innocent blood writes its history on the rough page of tyranny”

Author: News Editor

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