Equatorial Guinea stays silent on Jammeh’s presence

 Yahya Jammeh looking / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Yahya Jammeh looking / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Officials in Equatorial Guinea refused to comment on Sunday on whether ousted former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh had arrived in the country.

But in a statement, Equatorial Guinea’s opposition denounced the presence of Jammeh, whose 22-year reign was marked by systematic human rights abuses, on their soil.

Jammeh slinked off in the dead of night from The Gambia’s capital Banjul in the early hours of Sunday on an unmarked plane alongside Guinea-Conakry’s President Alpha Conde.

The strongman’s departure ended six weeks of political turmoil sparked by Jammeh’s refusal to accept his election defeat to new Gambian President Adama Barrow.

Following a short stopover in Conakry, the Guinean capital, Jammeh was due to head to Equatorial Guinea, a top Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military official said.

But asked by AFP to confirm this news, Equatorial Guinean authorities did not comment.

However, Equatorial Guinea’s Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) opposition hit out at the decision to grant Jammeh “political exile”.

“The CPDS rejects this decision and holds” President Teodoro Obiang Nguema “responsible” for any consequences Jammeh’s presence on Equatorial Guinean soil could bring, the opposition said in a statement acquired by AFP.

The CPDS said other countries had offered to host Jammeh and stressed that Equatorial Guinea has “never welcomed political exiles”.

The opposition accused Obiang of showing “contempt” towards the country and “thinking only of his personal gain”.

Obiang has been president of Equatorial Guinea since ousting his uncle in 1979.

He has been accused of human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, being a dictator and of encouraging a personality cult in the tiny oil-rich nation.

Opposition in the country is barely tolerated and the 74-year-old leader was re-elected in April with almost 94 percent of the vote.

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