Calls for Prayer and Fasting as Thousands Flee Gambia

Calls for Prayer and Fasting as Thousands Flee Gambia

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Thursday, 19 January 2017
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Thousands of people fearing violence are fleeing the tiny African nation of Gambia as the country’s political crisis deepens.

“I feel as a Gambian, I should just stay but whatever happens will happen,” one concerned citizen told reporters. “But I’m not that happy with the way the situation, the political impasse has been in the country.”

That impasse erupted last month when Gambia’s longtime president, Yahya Jammeh, was defeated in a hotly contested presidential race.

The new president-elect, Adama Barrow, is supposed to be inaugurated on Thursday, but Jammeh, who first seized power in a coup in 1994, has refused to step down and declared a state of emergency.Gambians aren’t too happy with the decision and are pleading for Jammeh to step aside to avoid a violent confrontation.”So for President Jammeh, obviously, we are pleading to him as Gambians, if he really loves the nation like he said, he should just simply go and leave Gambians in peace,” said one resident.Panic has set in across the country, prompting thousands of people to flee to neighboring Senegal. “We are so tired, we are suffering,” said one resident in Gambia’s capital city. “We want peace, we don’t want any problems, only peace. We love Gambia, Gambia is so nice. We don’t have a choice but to go to Senegal.”

In a dramatic move, Gambia’s national assembly passed a resolution allowing Jammeh to stay in power for three more months starting Wednesday. But Barrow, who is currently in Senegal for his safety, insists his inauguration will proceed as planned despite Jammeh’s refusal to leave.
In a statement read by his political advisor, Barrow promised Gambians that a new day begins later this week.
“Once again, I would assure all of you, fellow Gambians, that on the 19th of January 2017, my government shall begin working on reversing the serious damages caused by the 22 years of malgovernance,” Barrow said. “I thank you all and look forward to a new Gambia and a more developed Gambia with compassion.”

Gambia, a tiny nation of 1.9 million people, remains on edge as regional leaders scramble to bring an end to the political chaos. In neighboring Senegal, pastor Gabriel Sagna, president of the Evangelical Fraternity of Senegal, has called for three days of prayer and fasting for Gambia to begin on Thursday.
“The situation in Gambia is very bad and people are very afraid about what’s going to happen,” Sagna told CBN News.  Sagna says his heart goes out to the Gambians who have already fled the political chaos.

“Thousands of Gambians have already come across the border into Senegal and they are facing a difficult situation,” Sagna said. “Many of them left without any of their belongings.”
He and other Senegalese Christian leaders are urging the global church to pray that war would not erupt in this part of Africa.  “Please join us in prayer as we ask the Lord for His Spirit of peace to blow across Gambia and that the suffering and political crisis would come to a peaceful end,” Sagna said in a phone interview from Senegal.

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