West African leaders will return to The Gambia this week to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down from power.
The Ecowas mediation team, led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said they will visit Banjul on Wednesday to hold talks with President Jammeh over the political impasse in the country.
In a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday, President Buhari, his counterparts Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Senegalese Macky Sall, and former Ghanaian President John Mahama said they will “discuss with President Jammeh the imperative to respect the Constitution.”
The current political crisis was caused by President Jammeh’s refusal to step down after the December 1 elections in which he was defeated by opposition candidate Adama Barrow. Mr Jammeh’s mandate ends on January 19.
President Jammeh, in power for 22 years, had initially conceded defeat but flip-flopped later and said he would contest the result. This prompted condemnations from the regional bloc Ecowas as well as the international community.
The leaders, in Abuja, further raised concerns over media crackdown that has resulted in the closure of some radio stations as well as reports of “mass exodus” of Gambians, fleeing the country over fears of violence.