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Gambia Electoral Head Flees Country, Fearing for Safety

  • VOA News

Polling officials wait at the local IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) headquarters to distribute the ballot boxes to the polling stations, in Serekunda, Gambia, Nov. 29, 2016. Commission Chairman Alieu Momar Njai fled to Senegal after he received word that Gambian authorities were plotting against him.

Gambia’s electoral chief has fled the country after he received threats for declaring longtime President Yahya Jammeh the loser of last month's election.

According to relatives, Independent Electoral Commission Chairman Alieu Momar Njai fled to Senegal after he received word that Gambian authorities were plotting against him.

In another development, Reuters reports that Gambia's army chief has reaffirmed his loyalty to President Jammeh. General Ousman Badjie wrote a letter to Jammeh published Wednesday in a pro-government newspaper.

Jammeh, who has ruled the tiny West African country for 22 years, was declared the loser in Gambia’s December 1 election.

Initially he accepted the results of the election, but Jammeh’s political party filed a legal complaint against the electoral commission about a week after the election, citing voting irregularities.

Gambia’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case on January 10.

Despite Jammeh’s objections, opposition candidate Adama Barrow, who was declared the winner in the election, says he will continue to plan his inauguration for January 19.

The United Nations and several other African leaders have asked Jammeh to step down peacefully.

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