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President Adama Barrow arrives home

BBC
President Barrow, left, was seen off at Dakar airport by President Macky Sall of Senegal
President Barrow, left, was seen off at Dakar airport by President Macky Sall of Senegal

Gambia's President Adama Barrow has returned to the country to assume power - days after his predecessor Yahya Jammeh left to go into exile.

President Barrow's plane touched down at Banjul airport where jubilant crowds waited to welcome him. After landing, he tweeted: "I'm finally home to Gambia."

Mr Barrow, who has been in neighbouring Senegal, won elections in December.  However a handover was stalled when Mr Jammeh, Gambia's president of 22 years, refused to step aside.

He left for exile at the weekend after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention. Mr Barrow, dressed in white robes and a cap, stepped off the plane in Banjul as heavily armed troops from Senegal and Nigeria stood by.

Overhead, a fighter jet from the West African force guaranteeing the new president's security performed fly-pasts.

He was sworn in as president at the Gambian embassy in Senegal a week ago, but a public inauguration on home soil is planned soon, aides say.

Earlier, Mr Barrow, 51, said he expected a "big, big welcome" when he arrived back in Banjul. He told the International Business Times UK: "I think it will be the biggest in the history of our country."

He added that he was "very excited" after the "very difficult transition".

The president is being accompanied by the UN envoy for West Africa, Mohamed ibn Chambas. He has said the UN will help uphold security in The Gambia.

 


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