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Gambia’s President Declares State of Emergency; Tourists Asked to Leave

Travelers Today       By    Czarina Ara Lasco

Updated: Jan 19, 2017 04:02 AM EST

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After his defeat in the presidential elections held last month, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared Gambia to be under a state of emergency two days before his officially steps down as the highest authority in the country. Jammeh's refusal to leave office has already caused a political dilemma in Gambia over the previous month.

During the presidential elections held last December 1, Jammeh was overpowered by the leader of the opposition, Adama Barrow. Last Tuesday, Jammeh said in a press conference aired in the national TV that his declaration of the state of emergency was caused by the "unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference" during the recently concluded presidential elections.

According to a report by the Express, almost a thousand British tourists were strained to leave the country because of the unstable condition of Gambia as of the moment. This preventive action is advised so as to avoid being affected by the possibility of a war because of the90-day declaration of state of emergency.

The official travel advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) through its website reads: "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel to The Gambia due to ongoing political uncertainty and potential military intervention following the Presidential elections on 1 December 2016. If you're currently in The Gambia you should leave by commercial means if you have no essential need to remain."

Despite Jammeh's assertion of the reasons why he has put Gambia under a state of emergency, political experts believe that this move is Jammeh's way of preventing himself from stepping down from his 22-year term of presidency. Jammeh also said that the state of emergency he just declared bans "any acts of disobedience to the laws The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace", BBC News reports.

Jammeh, who is a former coup leader, has actually ruled Gambia since year 1994. He already accepted losing to his opponent after the polls last December. However, the succeeding week after he pronounced concession, Jammeh has questioned the results of the election and thereafter claimed that there were irregularities causing his defeat.

On the other hand, President-elect Barrow is scheduled to assume office as the newest president of Gambia on January 19. Despite the state of emergency declared by Jammeh, Barrow is firm to his inauguration as originally planned. 

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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travel news, travel advisory, Gambia, british, tourists
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