Around 45,000 people flee Gambia to Senegal: UN body

 21 Jan 2017 - 11:56

Around 45,000 people flee Gambia to Senegal: UN body

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ANKARA: About 45,000 people have arrived in Senegal following an ongoing political crisis in Gambia, according to the UN Refugee Agency on Friday. 

In the statement, the agency said many people were continuing to flee the country because the situation there remained critical. 

"Around 75 percent of the arrivals are children, mostly accompanied by women.

"Arrivals in Senegal have been a mix of Gambians, Senegalese, bi-nationals, as well as Ghanaians, Liberians, Lebanese, Guineans, and Mauritanians among other foreigners. In addition, at least 800 people have crossed into Guinea-Bissau," the statement said.

The UN body warned "the next few days will be critical and more people may leave the country if the current situation is not resolved peacefully soon."

Gambia hosts about 8,000 refugees "mainly Senegalese, who remains anxious and worried over the unfolding political events in the country," the statement said.

The statement comes as West African troops crossed into Gambia on Thursday in an attempt to oust 51-year-old Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power for the last 22 years and has refused to cede power after he losing elections last month. 

Jammeh later declared a state of emergency and called for new elections as he vowed not to relinquish his post to Adama Barrow, who was sworn in as the country’s president at the Gambian embassy in neighboring Senegal.