The Gambia’s incoming president said he favours launching a “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate possible crimes committed by the outgoing leader of 22 years.
Speaking to the Associated Press on Saturday, Adama Barrow urged caution after an online petition called for Yahya Jammeh to be arrested, and not be granted asylum.
“We aren’t talking about prosecution here, we are talking about getting a truth and reconciliation commission,” Barrow told the AP. “Before you can act, you have to get the truth, to get the facts together.”
Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has been holed up this week in his official residence in Banjul, increasingly isolated as he was abandoned by his security forces and several cabinet members.
Since losing the election to Barrow in January, Jammeh had for weeks refused to hand over power.
Barrow has been in Senegal for his safety during a political standoff that came to the brink of a regional military intervention.
Under heavy security, Barrow took the presidential oath of office Thursday at The Gambia’s embassy in Dakar, with the backing of the international community.
Jammeh finally prepared to leave the country after declaring on Friday he would do so.
“I have decided in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” Jammeh said.
Human rights activists demanded that Jammeh be held accountable for alleged abuses, including torture and detention of opponents.
It was those concerns about prosecution that led Jammeh to challenge the December election results.