The Gambia’s president, Adama Barrow, has named senior politician Fatoumata Tambajang as deputy leader, as regional troops continued security sweeps to prepare for his return to the country from neighbouring Senegal.

New deputy leader had previously vowed to prosecute ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh for allegedly crimes committed by his regime.

The announcement of Tambajang’s appointment will be followed by the unveiling of the rest of Barrow’s cabinet later on Tuesday, according to presidential spokesperson Halifa Sallah.

Tambajang, a former minister and United Nations Development Programme staffer, was the architect of an opposition coalition that helped Barrow defeat longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh in a December 1 presidential election.

She made headlines last month when she told The Guardian newspaper that Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, would be prosecuted for alleged crimes committed by his regime.

Following her comments, Jammeh, who had initially conceded defeat, announced he no longer recognised the result, triggering a protracted political crisis which ended when he flew into exile late on Saturday.

Barrow, who fled to Senegal earlier this month for security reasons, was sworn in as president on January 19 at The Gambia’s embassy in Dakar.

His return date has not yet been fixed, and the appointment of his cabinet is aimed at filling a void created by his absence.

The armed forces have pledged loyalty to him, though troops from West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which entered the country last week to pressure Jammeh to step down, continued clearing the presidential compound in advance of Barrow’s arrival.

They also took over a Republican Guard barracks training centre in Bakau, just outside the capital, Banjul. – Aljazeera


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