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ECOWAS Mediation Team on Gambia Abducted by Suspected Militants in Mali

BAMAKO – Suspected militants today abducted 4 Head of States from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) few hours after their arrival in Bamako after inconclusive talks with Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Among the kidnapped leaders are Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Ghana’s former President John Dramani Mahama and President-elect of Gambia Adama Barrow.

This is the first time president-elect of the Gambia has flown out of the country since he was declared winner of the last presidential elections held on December 1, 2016.

ECOWAS mediators who met with president-elect Adama Barrow and outgoing Yahya Jammeh flew out with Barrow to Mali after their meeting with Jammeh on Friday evening. Local media reports quote sources as saying that the meeting ended inconclusively.

President Jammeh earlier made a statement asking the high Level ECOWAS mediation mission team led by Buhari not to come to Banjul for peace talks.

The mediation team was in Mali to join other African leaders at the ongoing France-Africa summit which is discussing security issues in West Africa. Final decision on the next move to take on Jammeh’s stance in the impasse was to be announced by ECOWAS in Mali.

It is suspected the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) is behind the kidnapping.

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