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U.S. bars ex-Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, family

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The United States has barred former President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and his immediate family from the country.

U.S. Department of State, in a statement on ‘Public Designation of The Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh,’ said the ex-president was sanctioned over “his involvement in significant corruption.”

“The Department is publicly designating former president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, under the terms of Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2018, due to his involvement in significant corruption.

“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

“The law requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.

“In addition to the designation of Yahya Jammeh, the Department is also publicly designating Jammeh’s spouse, Zineb Yahya Jammeh, his daughter, Mariam Jammeh, and his son, Muhammad Yahya Jammeh,” the statement read.

The United States is committed to combating corruption, increasing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and promoting good governance globally, according to the statement.

“The United States stands with the government of The Gambia, its people, and civil society in support of The Gambia’s transition towards greater transparency, accountability, and democratic governance, for the benefit of all Gambians,” the statement read.

Jammeh was defeated by current President Adama Barrow, who won the December 2016 presidential election with 43.34 per cent of the vote.

Jammeh’s tenure ended on Jan. 19, 2017, the same day that Barrow was expected to be sworn in as his successor, but he initially accepted the result, and later reneged.

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Barrow was forced to flee to neighbouring Senegal, where he was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy on Jan. 19 2017.

The U.S. had warned the embattled Jammeh that he was losing opportunities to peacefully handover to then president-elect Barrow and avoid the consequences of his actions.

“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday.

“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.

“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” the U.S. had said.

The United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS had said that Jammeh would cease to be recognised as Gambian President from the date he was expected to handover, which the U.S. also supported.

Jammeh was eventually forced to leave The Gambia and go into exile on January 21, while Barrow returned to the Gambia on January 26.

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