World Bulletin / News Desk
Troops crossed into Gambia shortly after President Adama Barrow was sworn in Thursday night at the embassy in Senegal’s capital Dakar.
Speaking to Dakar-based West Africa Democracy radio, the spokesman of Senegal’s army -- and part of the regional force in Banjul -- Abdoul Njie said the forces were deployed as mandated by the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure the safety of the president-elect and protect the civilian population.
Asked if the mandate includes arresting outgoing President Jammeh, he replied: “If need be, if necessary. Depending on the situation and the orders, we will execute our orders.”
Njie said their contingent had advanced by land and sea and were awaiting orders.
“We have not seen any resistance so far. But if we meet any, we will respond. Our targets are those forces backing Jammeh to remain in power after his mandate expired. But we will do our best to protect the civilian population,” the Senegal military spokesman ended.
Meanwhile, an ECOWAS diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said a delegation that includes Guinean President Alpha Conde and other West African leaders will be in Banjul later Friday afternoon in a final attempt to negotiate a safe exit for Jammeh.
Regional leaders had earlier announced they would postpone a military intervention in Gambia until noon (1200GMT) Friday.
Hundreds of Gambians in Senegal also celebrated the victory throughout the night.
Jammeh lost the election to Barrow last month but after conceding defeat, he later rejected the results on claims the process was tainted by unacceptable irregularities.