By MUHAMMED S. BAH & Abdoulie G. Dibba
More than 15 military vehicles entered Banjul around 6-7pm on Sunday 22 January 2017.
The military vehicles were escorted by Lieutenant General Ousman Bargie Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces with senior military personnel.
The troops had waited at the Denton Bridge awaiting the CDS and his entourage to escort them to statehouse. The CDS later assured the public in a television broadcast that the ECOWAS forces were not an occupation force.
These troops were welcome by a crowd along Independence Drive, chanting ‘welcome’.
The military troops were followed by this crowd to the state house gate where few of the ECOWAS military personnel together with the CDS and other military officials and the Secretary General went in a closed door meeting. The ECOWAS forces took charge of statehouse a few hours later.
The crowd numbering some hundreds, which was dominated by young people was stopped at the entrance to statehouse. As they stood by, they chanted ‘free at last.’
Mamudou Njie, a native of Banjul, was pleased to see the ECOMOG soldiers come.
Isatou Ceesay expressed her disappointment with the Gambian soldiers, noting the intervention of ECOWAS soldiers to rescue the Gambian people is not the best for our sovereignty.
“It will be difficult for us to trust the Gambian soldiers again and we want them to give chance to ECOMOG soldiers to execute their duties,” she remarked.
Information gathered from all the borders reveal that the ECOWAS Soldiers who were stationed at the respective border posts entered Gambian soil on Sunday 22 January 2017. The border posts contacted include Amdallai/Karang border, Kerr Ali\ Kerr Ayib, Giboro\ Selliti and Soma\Senoba.
The soldiers were stationed at the borders following talks held by a delegation of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS comprising the Chairperson, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, and Ex- President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana on Friday, 12 January 2016 failed to bear fruit.
The soldiers were ordered to use military force to oust out-going president Jammeh from office should all talks to ensure a peaceful transfer of Executive Power after the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election failed.
However, Ex-president Jammeh left Gambian soil on Saturday 21 January at 21.15hours on board a special flight.