New Gambia’s President Returns Home Amid Chants
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has returned to the country to assume power – days after his predecessor Yahya Jammeh left for exile.
President Barrow’s plane touched down at Banjul airport where jubilant crowds waited to welcome him.
Barrow, who has been in neighbouring Senegal, won elections in December.
However a handover was stalled when 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.
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.
“I am a happy man today,” Barrow told a reporter from the Associated Press in the crush at the airport, adding: “I think the bad part is finished now.”
The president said his priority was to appoint his cabinet and “then get the ball rolling”.
President Barrow was driven from the airport in a convoy of cars and waved to the crowds who lined the route.
President Barrow is staying at his own home while a security assessment is carried out at the official residence, State House.
Barrow 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.
Several thousand West African soldiers remain in The Gambia amid reports that rogue pro-Jammeh elements are embedded in the country’s security forces.