January 19, 2017 / 10:44 PM / in 2 years

West African nations halt Gambia operation to allow mediation

DAKAR (Reuters) - West African nations halted a military operation in Gambia on Thursday to give a final chance to mediation efforts, but will resume at noon on Friday if Yahya Jammeh still refuses to hand over power to the new president, a regional official said.

Speaking to reporters, Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, said it was out of the question that Jammeh be allowed to remain in Gambia. But if mediation succeeds he can choose his country of exile, de Souza said, adding that regional countries were open to possible amnesty as part of a deal.

Reporting by Emma Farge, writing by Joe Bavier, editing by G Crosse

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