Equatorial Guinea silent on Jammeh’s presence

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

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\n 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.

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\n 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.

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\n 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.

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\n 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.

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

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

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\n “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.

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

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

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

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\n 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.

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

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