Senegal: US urges Gambian military to withdraw from electoral commission office

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The United States on Wednesday strongly urge Gambian security forces that entered the headquarters of the country's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Tuesday ''to withdraw, and not to threaten or intimidate'' members of the Commission.

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, the US stated: ''This unnecessary and unprovoked show of force is seen as a move to subvert the democratic process in The Gambia, which has already been damaged by the refusal of outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to prepare for a lawful transition to President-elect Barrow."

''We applaud the ECOWAS delegation for meeting with outgoing President Jammeh and urge him to respect the will of the Gambian people and accept the results of the December 1 election,'' the statement noted.

The delegation, which was in Gambia on Tuesday, was led by the current ECOWAS chair, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and included President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and outgoing Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.

''Although it is too soon to determine how President Jammeh will respond to the delegation’s appeals, we call on him to listen to the messages delivered by the distinguished members of the delegation.

''As we have said before, the United States strongly condemns outgoing President Jammeh’s December 9 statement rejecting the December 1 election results and calling for new elections. This action is an attempt to rewrite the results after he accepted them and pledged to respect the will of the people on December 2,'' the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the US also condemned the announcement by Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party that they would challenge the election before the Supreme Court as ''we do not believe it will be heard by a credible court dedicated to ensuring the integrity of The Gambia’s democratic process.''

''We agree with President-elect Barrow that, 'all of us want a post-election environment that is harassment and violence-free.' We admire the calm and peaceful demeanour of the Gambian people, whose many ethnic groups have lived together as one family for centuries,'' the statement said.

The US said it would continue to monitor the situation and urged all sides to remain calm and refrain from violence.

''We welcome statements from the African Union, the UN Security Council, and countless others who have condemned Jammeh’s attempt to remain in power illegitimately.

''We, in collaboration with our international partners, are evaluating a range of options for responding to the situation to ensure that the will of the Gambian people is respected and to hold accountable anyone who would resort to violence to quell peaceful political dissent,'' the statement concluded.

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 14Dec2016

14 december 2016 18:31:52




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