Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh boards a private jet before departing Banjul airport, Gambia Jan. 21, 2017 into exile. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
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Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh flew out Saturday from the country he ruled for 22 years to cede power to President Adama Barrow and end a political crisis.Jammeh refused to step down after a Dec. 1 election in which Barrow was declared the winner, triggering weeks of uncertainty that almost ended in a military intervention involving five other west African nations.Jammeh finally said he would step aside in the early hours of Saturday morning and hand power to Barrow, who has been in neighboring Senegal but is expected back in The Gambia imminently.Jammeh took power in a 1994 coup from the country's only other president since independence from Britain, Dawda Jawara, making this The Gambia's first democratic transition of power.The choice of Equatorial Guinea for his exile helps ease concerns that Jammeh might interfere in his nation's politics if he stayed in Guinea, whose border is not far from The Gambia's eastern region.Jammeh attempted to build a personality cult and has left behind a small minority of diehard supporters, some of whom wept as his plane departed.
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