Gambia opposition group formed in Senegal

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Yahya Jammeh staged a coup in 1994 and has since won four widely criticised multi-party elections

A Gambian opposition political grouping intends to create a government in exile in neighbouring Senegal within days, its leader has told the BBC.

Sheikh Sidia Bayo said he was spurred to create the new group by the recent execution of some death-row prisoners.

The aim of the National Transitional Council of The Gambia (CNTG) was to see the end of President Yahya Jammeh's "dictatorship", he said.

Human rights groups say most of those on death row are political prisoners.

The executions were the first in The Gambia, a popular tourist destination, in 27 years.

Two Senegalese nationals were among the nine prisoners killed at the end of August after President Jammeh vowed to execute all 47 death-row inmates by mid-September, prompting the anger of Senegal's President Macky Sall.

Relations between the two countries are often frosty, with Senegal accusing its neighbour of backing separatist rebels in its southern Casamance province, which borders The Gambia.

'Political alternative'

Mr Bayo said that the CNTG's government of transition would be made up of 35 members and would be based in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Following the executions, the international community condemned Mr Jammeh and the time was now right for change, the Gambian activist said.

"This time the dictatorship of Jammeh must cease because there is real political alternative for The Gambia which is the CNTG," he told BBC Afrique.

The group wanted to eradicate tribalism in The Gambia, prevent arbitrary arrests, intimidation, assassinations and above all see the exit of Mr Jammeh from politics, he said.

Correspondents say it is unclear how Mr Bayo intends to set up this government as he appears to be little known by prominent opposition members.

Mr Jammeh was a young army lieutenant when he staged a coup in 1994 and has since won four widely criticised multi-party elections.

His human rights record has often been criticised by international organisations, with particular concerns over press freedom.

The death penalty was abolished when former President Dawda Jawara led the country but reinstated shortly after Mr Jammeh seized power.

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