President-elect Adama Barrow flew out of The Gambia late Friday to meet west African leaders attending a summit in Bamako with hopes of ending the country’s political crisis, Nigeria’s foreign minister said.
“The ECOWAS team has decided to depart Banjul tonight in the company of president-elect Barrow headed for Bamako, Mali,” Geoffrey Onyeama told journalists following crisis talks with Barrow and President Yahya Jammeh, who is refusing to leave power.
The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), a 15-nation bloc, has repeatedly called on Jammeh to respect the result of the December 1 election that delivered Barrow to victory and step down after 22 years in power.
A three-nation delegation led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari landed in Banjul Friday for a second attempt at getting Jammeh to leave, five days before the Gambian strongman’s mandate expires.
Onyeama expressed the bloc’s “determination to find a peaceful solution that accords with the Constitution of the Gambia and also reflects the will of the Gambian people.”
This, he said, would be best served by Barrow meeting representatives from all ECOWAS member nations.
West African heads of state are gathered in Bamako for the Africa-France summit which resumes Saturday.