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Adama Barrow inaugurated as president after Gambian election upset

January 21, 2017 - GAMBIA

The tiny West African nation made history in December with its first peaceful transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965, and President-Elect Adama Barrow will take office in the third week of January.

He defeated Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994 and has held power since, in the December presidential election. The long-time leader, who once vowed to bury opposition figures "nine feet deep," conceded defeat but his opponents do not expect him to go quietly. They suspect that he has "bunkers and treasure" at his farm near the Senegal border and could start a rebel movement from there, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, and there is already talk of prosecuting him for war crimes.

Barrow, a property developer with no former political experience, won the presidential nomination in 2016 to lead an opposition coalition of seven parties. According to the AFP news agency, it was the largest alliance of its kind since independence.

Gambia's newly elected president Barrow says he will free the country's political prisoners, reverse the former administration's decision to leave the International Criminal court and lead a transition government for only three years. On the electoral campaign trail, he promised to revive the country's economy, which has forced thousands of Gambians to make the perilous journey to Europe.

Gambia's Jammeh loses to Adama Barrow in shock election result (BBC 2 Dec 2016)

The Gambia's new rulers vow to prosecute outgoing president (Guardian 7 Dec 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-12-07