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Gambia's longtime leader has finally agreed to step down

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Gambia's longtime -- and recently defeated -- leader has agreed to cede power to the country's newly-elected president, officials say.


The country's new leader, Adama Barrow, had been waiting in Senegal for the longtime leader, Yahya Jammeh, to cede control.

Barrow was inaugurated on Thursday at Gambia's embassy in Senegal.

Power moves

Officials said arrangements still needed to be finalized regarding Jammeh's exit.

Yahya Jammeh had said at one point during the country's current crisis he'd step aside but then changed his mind. Jammeh first took control in a 1994 coup.


Defense forces told AP the country's security services now support Barrow. "You cannot push us to war for an issue we can solve politically," officials said. "We don't see any reason to fight."

Refugee crisis

Approximately 45,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal fearing violence would erupt if Jammeh refused to step down. That statistic is according to the Senegalese government and the U.N. refugee agency.

Jammeh has demanded -- but been subsequently denied -- that he be granted amnesty for any crimes he may have committed during his more than two decades in power.

For his part, Barrow has urged Gambians who have fled to return to help rebuild the ailing nation.

"I wish to congratulate all of you and welcome you to the new Gambia," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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