Jammeh arrives at Banjul airport after stepping down

Jammeh, who has ruled the country for 22 years, lost an election on December 1 to opposition candidate Adama Barrow, who is set to be sworn in on Thursday.

Mr Jammeh had refused to accept his loss to Mr Barrow, who was inaugurated on Thursday at Gambia's embassy in Senegal because of concerns for his safety.

The presidents of Guinea and Mauritania were locked in talks with Mr Jammeh for hours on Friday negotiating his future.

West African regional forces announced they were preparing for a possible military deployment to Gambia in the event that Jammeh refused to step down.

The new president of Gambia, Adama Barrow, who has been hibernating in neighbouring Senegal where he was sworn-in recently, has told citizens of his country that he was returning home.

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Under heavy security, Barrow took the presidential oath of office Thursday at Gambia's embassy in Dakar, with the backing of the global community.

But Gambia's political crisis remains unresolved - with now former president Yahya Jammeh clinging to power in the capital, Banjul, and an Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) force at the border, preparing to intervene.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the VP, Laolu Akande, said on his Twitter handle yesterday that: "VP Osinbajo on return to Abuja received update and briefings on the situation in Gambia and briefings from a number of cabinet ministers".

He was also reported to have left the State House to join President Alpha Conda of Guinea to the airport, to begin a new life in exile.

Earlier this week, he declared a national state of emergency, and on Wednesday Gambia's national assembly approved a resolution to extend his term by 90 days.

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Shortly before Jammeh's address, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz told reporters that a deal had been reached and that Jammeh would leave the country.

Ecowas has asked the U.N. Security Council for the authority to use "all necessary measures" to remove Jammeh.

"We are not going to involve ourselves militarily, this is a political dispute", he said.

"I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight".

But around 6pm local time today (Jan.20), the defeated president finally agreed to step down. By staying in office, Jammeh can avoid prosecution for alleged abuses.

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