West African nations, members of a bloc known as ECOWAS, have launched a military operation in The Gambia on Thursday aimed at toppling the dictator Yahya Jammeh. The troops, led by Senegal, have the approval of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.
Yahya Jammeh, one of the notorious African dictators has refused to step down after his lost elections to Adama Barrow. He initially accepted the loss, but changed his mind a few days later, arguing irregularities committed by his own apparatus.
Adama Barrow, who took the oath of office on Thursday at The Gambia's embassy in Senegal, called on the international community to support ECOWAS' actions.
The military intervention is led by the Senegalese military, with aerial support from Nigeria.
The colorful Yahya Jammeh, whose complete name is Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, took power in a military coup in 1994, only aged 29 years. He was elected as President in 1996 and re-elected in 2001, 2006, and 2011.
During his reign, he has faced military coups, the most important being by the Army chief of staff Colonel Ndure Cham, which was followed by repressions.
Yahya Jammeh is known for making bizarre claims and behaviors. He wanted to be called "His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa" and the "Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces and Chief Custodian of the Sacred Constitution of the Gambia."
In January 2007, Yahya Jammeh claimed he could cure HIV/AIDS and asthma with natural herbs. On July 26, 2010, he claimed that, "the first Atlantic flight and the first flight from Eastern Europe landed in the Gambia." and that The Gambia "is one of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa that was reduced to a small snake by the British government who sold all our lands to the French."
He has been ruling the country with repression. He was accused of killing 12 students and a journalist during a student demonstration to protest the death of a student, on April 10 and 11, 2000. He is also accused of the disappearance of dozens of civilians.
The intervention will most likely succeed to install Adam Barrow. After the oath administered by the president of Gambia's bar association, Adama Barrow said :
"This is a day no Gambian will ever forget. Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world. I hereby make an explicit appeal to ECOWAS, the (African Union) and the UN... to support the government and people of the Gambia in enforcing their will, restoring their sovereignty and constitutional legitimacy."
Major World and regional powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom , Nigeria, GHana, Senegal, and many more have supported Adama Barrow.