ECOWAS to draw down troops in Gambia from 7,000 to 500

The number of West Africa’s bloc ECOWAS’ forces in The Gambia will be cut to 500 from 7,000, with the troops beginning to return to their home countries this month.

ECOWAS deployed the troops into the country after former president Yahya Jammeh declined to hand over power to winner of the December 1 election Adama Barrow, in order to force him to cede power.

The former president had ruled The Gambia since 1994 after he led a successful coup.

Jammeh fled the country after the troops deployment, paving the way for Barrow to take office.

The new leader was sworn-in in neighbouring Senegal.

Troops from Senegal as well as from Ghana and Nigeria will make up the smaller operation, whose mandate begins on Feb. 21 and will last for three months.

Barrow had initially requested that ECOWAS force’s mission be extended by six months.

The troops main mission will be to protect President Barrow and other government members and institutions.



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