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July 19, 2018 | Gambia

Gambian govt condemns ex-president's 'shocking' return pledge

AFP
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, pictured in 2005, has been in exile since January 2017 after a 22-year-rule marked by human rights violations, but has plans to return.  By JEFF HAYNES (AFP/File)
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, pictured in 2005, has been in exile since January 2017 after a 22-year-rule marked by human rights violations, but has plans to return. By JEFF HAYNES (AFP/File)

Banjul on Thursday condemned former president Yahya Jammeh's pledge to come back to the West African country in a leaked phone call that went viral on social media.

"Neither man nor (spirit) can stop me from coming back to The Gambia," Jammeh said in the leaked tape, comments the current government subsequently called "shocking and subversive".

It said that in light of Jammeh's record of "state-orchestrated disappearances, kidnappings, murders," it would act accordingly and decisively, without further elaborating.

"The leaked tape...

revealed in significant detail the former President's desperate efforts to stay politically relevant in The Gambia even as his trail of terror and economic crimes are being cased for potential criminal prosecution," the government said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the former ruling party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), said it was probing the leak of a call between its members and the ex-president - the first time the country's old ruler has been heard of since he fled in 2017.

Jammeh, whose 22-year-rule was marked by numerous human rights violations, lost the presidential election in December 2016 to then opposition leader Adama Barrow.

He went into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his rule.

There have been numerous calls for Jammeh to be returned to his native country to be prosecuted for the alleged human rights abuses, including the killing and torture of opponents -- although a share of the population still supports him.

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