General News of Saturday, 21 January 2017
Government has put in place the necessary measures to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia where a political crisis is imminent following Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to cede political power to the elected Adama Barrow.
The government has been criticised for not evacuating Ghanaians in The Gambia before committing over 200 troops to ECOWAS to help oust Jammeh who lost last December’s elections to Adama Barrow.
Jammeh missed a second deadline of 16:00GMT Friday to hand over power to Barrow who was sworn in Thursday from The Gambia’s embassy in Darkar, Senegal.
Thousands of Gambians have since the beginning of the simmering crisis fled the country to neighbouring Senegal.
Security analyst with the Kofi Anan Peacekeeping Training Institute, Dr Kwesi Aning has meanwhile expressed concerns over the government’s failure to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia in view of the fluid situation there.
However, minister-designate for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, told Parliament’s Appointments Committee during his vetting Friday night that preparations have been put in place to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia should it become necessary.
“I’m not … able to tell you publicly the steps that are being taken to evacuate our civilians but I can say for a fact that enough preparations have been made to ensure that in the event that we need to evacuate any Ghanaian, we will do that,” he assured Ghanaians.
This was after a member of the Committee, Alhassan Suhuyini had asked Mr Ntiwul as to whether he would advice the President to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia in view of the crisis brewing in the small West African nation.
Mr Nitiwul said there are currently about 50,000 Ghanaians in The Gambia, most of who are fisher folks, noting that if it becomes necessary to evacuate them, “That has been taken are of.
“Every available means that we will use, preparation that have been made have been made, I can assure you of that,” he said but declined to give further details due to the sensitive nature of the operation.
The minister-designate, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bimbila observed, “the situation in the Gambia is a bit serious,” but expressed optimism that by close of day Saturday it would have been resolved.
He said although the government has committed troops to Gambia to help ECOWAS resolve the crisis in that country, he is unable to say whether they are in The Gambia or Senegal.