Banjul, Gambia, Jan 4 – The head of Gambia’s electoral commission has fled to neighbouring Senegal fearing a plot against him, a month after declaring President Yahya Jammeh lost elections following 22 years in power, one of his relatives said.
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Alieu Momar Njie “fled to Senegal after he got information that the Gambian authorities were plotting against him and his team” one of his relatives told AFP late Tuesday.
“Some of his team members have also left for Senegal,” the relative said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The relative did not elaborate on how Njie fled or say who had gone with him.
There was no immediate comment from Senegalese authorities.
Njie had declared opposition candidate Adama Barrow the winner of December 1 presidential elections and pleaded with all parties to respect the result.
Jammeh’s party later lodged a legal complaint against the electoral commission and the country has since been in political deadlock.
The 51-year-old Jammeh, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1994, has said he will await a Supreme Court ruling in the case, delayed until January 10, before ceding power.
Jammeh’s refusal to step down, despite initially conceding defeat in the election, has stoked international concerns about the future of the tiny west African country.
Both the United Nations and African leaders have called for him to step down.
Meanwhile, a security source said that a group of people arrested for selling or wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan #GambiaHasDecided had been released.
One of those briefly detained, who declined to be identified, said armed men had entered a shop selling merchandise featuring Barrow’s image and seized T-shirts, caps and badges.
They said they were taken to Gambian National Intelligence Agency headquarters where they were cautioned before being released.