New Gambian president to arrive in the country following new government

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A man walks under the commemorative arch in Banjul, Gambia, Wednesday Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Sylvain Cherkaoui)

Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow will arrive in the country on Thursday, a week after he was sworn into office in neighboring Senegal, officials with the new government confirmed Wednesday.

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

Gambians eagerly await Barrow, who has promised to reverse many of the actions of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh. Barrow defeated Jammeh in December elections that the ruling party challenged.

Jammeh finally flew into exile over the weekend after international pressure, ending a more than 22-year rule. He has been accused by rights groups and others of leading a government that suppressed opponents with detentions, beatings and killings.

A West African regional military force that was poised to oust Jammeh if diplomatic talks failed has been securing Gambia for Barrow’s arrival. He has requested that the force remain in Gambia for six months, but it is unclear whether heads of state with the regional bloc known as ECOWAS will approve a deployment of that length.

Barrow has been waiting in Senegal, where he took the oath of office at Gambia’s embassy amid fears for his safety.

He has been busy this week forming his Cabinet and has named a woman, Fatoumata Tabajang, as vice president. She has vowed to seek prosecution for Jammeh, who flew with family and close aides to Equatorial Guinea.

On Tuesday, Gambia’s lawmakers lifted the country’s state of emergency and revoked a three-month extension of Jammeh’s term, as the new government began dismantling his final attempts to cling to power.

Story by The Associated Press