ECOWAS has orders its troops to extend their military mission in Gambia by one year after entering the country in January to force out longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh.
An estimate of 500 ECOWAS troops remain in Gambia of the original 7,000 that crossed over from neighboring Senegal to compel Jammeh to go into exile and leave the presidency to Adama Barrow, who was victorious in the December election.
Soldiers from the mission, known as ECOMIG (Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention in The Gambia), came under attack last Friday by locals in Jammeh’s native village of Kanilai, Interior Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty said in a televised statement, underscoring unresolved tensions from Jammeh’s 22-year rule.
One of the demonstrators demanding the departure of ECOMIG and state troops was killed in the clashes, and security forces made 22 arrests, Fatty said.
Gambia has a population of 2 million people is trying to rebuild its economy and obtain justice for victims of Jammeh’s government, which is accused of torturing and killing perceived opponents.
Separately, ECOWAS’s 15 member states gave preliminary approval to Morocco’s bid to join the bloc “because of (its) strong and multi-dimensional links of cooperation with West Africa”, ECOWAS said in a statement.