At Town Hall Meeting, US Citizens Urged to Leave Gambia Immediately

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By Ebrima G. Sankareh, Editor-in-Chief

Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia— Following a “Town Hall Meeting at the US Ambassador’s Residence” lasting two hours this morning (10am-12:00pm), American citizens were briefed on the current political climate in The West African nation of The Gambia and advised to leave no later than January 10, 2017.

The meeting attended by over a thousand American citizens currently in the West African tourist paradise either as tourists or on business, were urged to immediately relocate to other neighbouring countries or better still, return to the United States without further delay.

According to our correspondent who attended the meeting, “citizens were urged to pack their belongings and immediately relocate to a neighbouring country or return home as the political climate was getting progressively worrisome.”

“Evacuations are dangerous and often costly and given the trajectory of the unfolding political drama in The Gambia” with Yaya Jammeh’s continuous belligerence, citizens were warned to leave as soon as possible, our correspondent reports.

“We were told that the political climate is fluid and could easily deteriorate without warning” our correspondent reveals.

According to our correspondent, the outcome of the meeting was predictable as Gambians everywhere remain edgy and the news from the state-owned radio and TV (GRTS) has not helped in allaying citizens’ fears. In the vicinities of Banjul, Serekunda, Bakau and the peri-urban areas, military personnel are often seen digging at street corners and mounting heavy machineguns as well as truckloads of sandbags being dropped at such locations.

Our correspondent also reveals that the probability of a very cautious and strong travel advisory from the US State Department was more probable than otherwise. “Rest assured, very soon, you will see a strongly worded advisory to that effect” our correspondent reports.

It can be recalled that only yesterday, The Gambia Echo carried a general statement captioned: “Message for U.S. Citizens in Gambia: Town Hall Meeting January 6, 2017.” The Town Hall Meeting urged all US citizens in The Gambia to register and attend and specifically stated “We will have a presentation on emergency preparedness and discuss American Citizen Services available at the Embassy. The Town Hall Meeting is only open to adult U.S. citizens over the age of 18 years or adult guardians of U.S. citizen minor children.”

                                                                            Background

 On Thursday December 1, 2016, Gambians went to the pools and massively voted out incumbent, President Yaya Jammeh, who has presided over the mini West African nation for a hellish 22 years. The following Friday morning, Mr. Jammeh, a notorious liar and autocrat, rang up Mr. Adama Barrow, the 2016 Coalition Candidate and conceded defeat in a gesture of choreographed magnanimity that only psychologists can diagnose.

A week later, Mr. Jammeh true to his character, recanted his concession speech and went as far as declaring the election null and void, calling for fresh Presidential election and rebuking as well as threatening the Chairman of the IEC-Independent Electoral Commission plunging The Gambia into a political logjam that now potentially threatens its peace and stability in a region replete with ethnic strives and political violence. Three days ago, The IEC’s Chairman, Mr. Alieu Momar Njie, went into hiding and subsequently fled The Gambia following credible threats to his life.

Despite repeated appeals from home, regionally and internationally for calm and a gracious transfer of power reflecting the sovereign will of the Gambian people, the despot of Banjul, a clownish bandit of tremendous individuality with an insatiable penchant for violence, remains defiant culminating in this morning’s town hall meeting urging US citizens to leave Gambia immediately.

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