The Gambian parliament on Tuesday revoked the state of emergency declared last week by ousted Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh, signaling that the government is prepared to move on from the political crisis that rocked the small West African country for over a month.
Mr. Jammeh imposed a three-month state of emergency when he was faced with threats of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) due to his refusal to hand over power to Adama Barrow, who won the December 1, 2016 presidential election.
The despotic leader finally relented on Saturday and agreed to step down when ECOWAS troops stormed The Gambia to uphold the results of December's democratic election. Mr. Jammeh subsequently went into exile in the oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.
Mr. Barrow, who was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday, has yet to return to The Gambia, but Reuters reports that he is expected to arrive in Banjul, the capital, to begin his presidential duties later this week.
The political crisis prompted approximately 76,000 citizens to flee the country, but the UN has reported that some 8,000 Gambians have since returned home and more are anticipated to return as the situation stabilizes.
In order to ensure that the country remains peaceful and stable, President Adama Barrow has requested that the ECOWAS force remains in The Gambia for six months, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
"Barrow would like us to have a sufficient force on the ground for about six months; we will see which troops will be withdrawn and which would be retained," said Marcel De Souza, ECOWAS Commission president.
"We needed to have a specific strategy to prevent a single shot being fired and bloodshed," he added.
Mr. De Souza confirmed that the newly-elected Gambian president would return to Banjul soon, but that the ECOWAS force needs to ensure that the country is secure before his arrival.