Equatorial Guinea has confirmed it is hosting ousted Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who fled his country after West African troops threatened to remove him by force if he did not concede his election defeat.
In a statement sent out to journalists, Information Minister Eugenio Nse Obiang confirmed that Jammeh was in the country. He gave no further details.
Jammeh plunged Gambia into turmoil in December when he refused to accept losing to Adama Barrow, demanding a new poll.
But the former soldier finally relinquished power on Saturday under strong diplomatic pressure backed up by several thousand West African troops who crossed into Gambia and were poised to enforce the election result.
Many Gambians are angry that Jammeh fled into what they assume to be a luxurious exile rather than face trial for alleged human rights abuses.
Gambia’s parliament on Tuesday revoked a state of emergency that Jammeh had imposed last week before he fled, as the tiny West African country slowly recovered from its political crisis.
“The National Assembly hereby resolved … to approve the revocation of the declaration of the state of public emergency,” said majority leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta of the unanimous vote.
Barrow has not yet returned to Gambia from neighboring Senegal, where he took the oath of office on Thursday. He is due back in Gambia’s capital Banjul in the coming days.
The turmoil prompted some 76,000 people to flee to Senegal. The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said about 8,000 had returned home and more were expected to follow.