President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh speaks during the United Nations 68th session of the General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York
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The Gambia's Commonwealth withdrawal 'a disaster' - Gambian journalist

3 October 2013 Last updated at 07:35 BST

The Gambia is to withdraw from the Commonwealth, 48 years after joining.

The west African nation described the 54-member grouping, which includes the UK and most of its former colonies, as a "neo-colonial institution".

The withdrawal was announced on state TV but no other reasons were given.

Speaking to the BBC from North Carolina in the US, Editor in Chief of The Gambia Echo newspaper Ebrima Sankareh described The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh as a "despot" who is "trying to shy away from the committee of civilised nations because part of his regime is a blatant disregard of human rights".

"I do not see, and most Gambians that I know do not see, the Commonwealth as an extension of colonialism. Rather we see it as a club of civilised nations coming together to forge ahead for progress," said Mr Sankareh.