By Omar Bah
The Gambia government has dismissed as “totally false” reports that former president Yahya Jammeh is returning to the country.
A Guinean newspaper reported last Wednesday that Jammeh has been authorised to come and pray at his parents’ graves. The paper added it is uncertain how long Jammeh will stay in the country.
The paper further reported that the deal was struck under what it called the Malabo protocol which it said was negotiated for several months between former president Jammeh and his successor Adama Barrow, adding that the agreement is now beginning to take shape.
The paper further said: “Under the supervision of the Guinean president Alpha Condé and Theodore Obiang, the head of state of Equato-Guinea, the last acts have just been validated with the key to the first stay of the former dictator in Gambian land since his fall in 2017. Yahya Jammeh will soon travel to Gambia to meditate at his parents’ graves”.
According to the paper, the decision follows President Barrow’s commitment reportedly made to his Guinean counterpart President Alpha Condé when he visited Conakry last June. “As a reminder, President Condé who has never hidden his proximity to Yahya Jammeh was one of the architects of the latter’s departure from The Gambia and of the enthronement of the winner at the presidential election in 2016,” the paper added.
But the Guinean paper concluded that it has not received any comments from Banjul.
However, a strongly-worded statement signed by Gambia Government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh dismissed the report as false.
“The Gambia Government wishes to inform citizens and members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps that trending social media reports quoting Guinea’s Atlantic Newspaper that former president Yahya Jammeh has been granted permission to pay homage to his late mother with private security protection, is totally false.
“Contrary to widespread allegations that President Barrow and his Guinean colleague, President Alpha Condé negotiated this during Mr Barrow’s recent visit to Conakry, the entire story is inaccurate. In fact, at no time during President Barrow’s recent visit to Conakry was the issue of the former president discussed nor did he grant an exclusive interview to any Guinean journalist.
“The Gambia Government urges citizens, particularly journalists, to avoid rumour-mongering, dangerous disinformation and misinformation strategies that could potentially bring fear and confusion among the population.
“Significantly, the imaginary agreement dubbed ‘Malabo Protocol’ only exists in the minds of rumour-mongers as The Gambia Government has no such agreement in its diplomatic files.”