A Look at the African Dictator Who Refuses to Step Down

Regional leaders have threatened to use military force to remove Jammeh should he refuse to hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow today, Thursday.Jammeh was given a midnight deadline to stand down or face military action, but diplomats said he remained in The Gambia by 2330 GMT, as the Mauritanian president flew out of the country following hopes of a last-minute deal.”All the troops are already in place”, he added, saying they were merely waiting to see whether Jammeh would give in to global pressure to cede power to Barrow. “The ultimatum takes effect at midnight”, Senegal army spokesman Colonel Abdou Ndiaye told AFP ahead of the deadline.Other troop contributing countries include Senegal, Ghana and countries within the sub-region. In announcing the state of emergency Tuesday, Jammeh blamed what he called the unprecedented level of foreign involvement in Gambia’s election.Senegal’s statement raised the prospect of armed confrontation between forces loyal to the president, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, and Senegal, which surrounds the tiny riverside country on three sides.Sallah said Barrow, who is in Senegal, could not be sworn in at the national stadium, as originally planned, but that he would take the oath of office at an undisclosed place.”It is absurd”, Barrow’s spokesman said in a press conference on Wednesday. He is Gambia’s third president since independence back 1965.Human rights groups have long accused Jammeh of arresting, jailing and killing political opponents, and there have been widespread fears for Barrow’s safety. Some diplomats said UN Security Council approval was not needed for an ECOWAS military intervention if Barrow requested help.Unsuccessful attempts by the 15-nation Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) led Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to fly into Banjul at the 11th hour for a final round of talks.Barrow was examining the implications of the assembly’s resolution and the state of emergency, given the constitutional requirement for a handover and the need to maintain peace, Sallah told Reuters.Tour operator Thomas Cook said it is operating extra flights in order to “get our United Kingdom customers home from the Gambia as quickly as possible”. The UNHCR said up to 80% were children accompanied by women.Thomas Cook said additional flights into Banjul airport would bring home 1,000 package holidaymakers, followed by up 2,500 more at the “earliest possible flight availability”.- Tourist disappointment -As tensions rose, Britain and the Netherlands issued travel advisory warnings, with around 1,000 British tourists expected to leave on special flights on Wednesday alone.Gambia’s economy relies on one main crop, peanuts, and tourism.The smallest country on the African continent is a popular destination for tourists seeking sandy beaches.