UN bans Gambian army chief from visiting Sudan
Iran Press TV
Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:16PM
The United Nations has banned the Gambia's army chief, General Ousman Badjie, from visiting Gambian troops serving as peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region.
"The UN has decided to cancel General Badjie's visit to Gambian peacekeepers in Sudan," a diplomatic source told media on Friday.
There are 213 Gambian military personnel deployed in Darfur as peacekeepers under the UN command.
Analysts say by canceling the visit the UN is mounting pressure on the Gambian general not to take sides with President Yahya Jammeh, who initially conceded defeat in the recent presidential election, but has now challenged the results of the vote held on December 1, citing "abnormalities."
In an apparent show of loyalty to the incumbent president, the Gambian military on December 13 occupied the election commission's headquarters.
Jammeh has rejected the vote and called for "fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a God-fearing and independent electoral commission."
General Badjie, who had initially shown support to President-elect Adama Barrow, later changed sides after Jammeh's backtrack on concession.
He arrived at a high-level meeting with West African leaders in Banjul this week wearing a badge bearing Jammeh's face, indicating his change in loyalty.
The diplomatic source said there were serious concerns about General Badjie's visit to Sudan given the critical situation in Banjul.
The streets of the Gambia's capital were reported by media to be calm on Friday night although soldiers were seen placing sandbags in strategic locations across the city.
Mounting international pressure
International pressure from community leaders all around the world is mounting on the Gambia to accept Barrow, who is scheduled to be inaugurated in January.
Barrow, who won more than 43 percent of the votes, has accused the incumbent of damaging the country's democracy by refusing to accept the results.
Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994, has gained a reputation in the past 22 years as a ruthless leader.
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