- Gambia’s army chief, Ousman Badjie, said he would not order his men to fight other Africans
- Badjie says the impasse in the country is a political affair
- ECOWAS troops are in nearby Senegal awaiting orders to advance into The Gambia
Gambia’s army chief, Ousman Badjie, has said he would not order his men to fight other African troops if they enter the Gambian territory.
He spoke on Wednesday, January 18, as Senegalese and other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops are stationed on The Gambia’s borders.
The West African troops are on standby to move into The Gambia as President Yahya Jammeh approached a midnight deadline to step down or face military action after refusing to leave at the end of his term.
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Badjie said, after eating dinner in a tourist district close to the capital, Banjul.
He continued: “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men, we are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute… I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men.
“If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up to surrender gesture.
Meanwhile, the Senegal army spokesman Colonel Abdou Ndiaye said the Senegalese troops are on alert ahead of the expiration of Jammeh's deadline.
“Our troops are on alert… The ultimatum takes effect at midnight,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy has stepped down from her position following intense pressure on her boss.