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More than 45,000 people have fled The Gambia

Tourists load luggage onto a bus in preparation to leave the Gambia after the British Government changed the travel advisory to amber due to the state of emergency issued by Gambian President Jammeh on January 18, 2017 in Banjul, Gambia. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh looked determined to cling to power on January 18 as his mandate came to an end, while tourists packed onto planes in an exodus sparked by the country's state of emergency. Jammeh said January 17 the emergency measure was necessary due to interference of foreign powers in the country's December 1 election, which the president of 22 years lost to opponent Adama Barrow. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

Tourists load luggage onto a bus in preparation to leave the Gambia after the British Government changed the travel advisory to amber due to the state of emergency issued by Gambian President Jammeh on January 18, 2017 in Banjul, Gambia. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh looked determined to cling to power on January 18 as his mandate came to an end, while tourists packed onto planes in an exodus sparked by the country’s state of emergency. Jammeh said January 17 the emergency measure was necessary due to interference of foreign powers in the country’s December 1 election, which the president of 22 years lost to opponent Adama Barrow.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

More than 45,000 people have fled a political crisis in The Gambia this month, the United Nations said Friday, as veteran leader Yahya Jammeh faced a midday deadline to leave office.

“Around 45,000 people are now reported to have arrived in Senegal from The Gambia… amid the ongoing political uncertainty as Senegalese and West African troops entered the country on Thursday,” the UN refugee agency said in Geneva.

“It is feared that more people may continue to flee as the situation remains tense,” UNHCR said, adding that another “800 people have crossed into Guinea-Bissau.”

The UN agency noted that arrivals in Senegal have included “Gambians, Senegalese, bi-nationals, as well as Ghanaians, Liberians, Lebanese, Guineans, and Mauritanians among other foreigners.”

Jammeh, who has been in power more than 20 years, lost elections last month to Adama Barrow but has refused to stand down.

Soldiers from Senegal and four other west African countries have crossed into The Gambia to bolster Barrow, who has been sworn in at the country’s embassy in Dakar.

West African leaders have said regional forces would intervene with force if Jammeh refused to stand down.

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GambiaYahya Jammeh
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