Gambian Activists Urge Justice as Longtime Leader Steps Down (Associated Press – January 21)

Jammeh's announcement to relinquish power is a good first step, said Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa. "For the Gambia to truly move on, President Barrow must reside in state house and begin the task of governing. In an ideal scenario, Jammeh will also face justice for the many crimes he has committed since 1994."

What to Know About the Gambian Dictator Refusing to Hand Over Power (Time Magazine – Jan. 20)

A longtime dictator in one of Africa’s smallest countries is refusing to relinquish power, ignoring a Jan. 18 deadline set by a coalition of neighboring countries who have threatened to use military action to force his departure. Gambia is now on tenterhooks as West African troops entered Gambian territory late on Jan. 19, giving Yahya Jammeh just hours to cede power and end his 23-year-long dictatorship.

Senegal Sends Troops into Gambia to Force Longtime Leader to Step Down (Washington Post – January 19)

“That a regional bloc is willing to go beyond mere rhetoric, and defend the will and democratic aspirations of an entire people, speaks volumes and will undoubtedly resonate well beyond the Gambia,” said Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Washington-based Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit organization that has worked closely with the Gambian opposition.

Senegalese Troops Enter the Gambia as Jammeh Refuses to Step Down (The Cipher Brief – January 19)

“It’s not altogether surprising that Jammeh is refusing to step down,” Executive Director of Vanguard Africa Jeff Smith told The Cipher Brief. “Over the course of two decades he has shown a callous unwillingness to be reasonable and to do the right thing for the country. In this way, his seeming intention to bring unnecessary disorder and anxiety to the country is consistent with his past behavior,” he said.

Cameroon Bans Pro-English Groups and Restricts Internet Amid Strikes (International Business Times – January 18)

The Cameroonian government has banned two Anglophone organisations amid ongoing tensions in its English-speaking areas. Now a security analyst has warned IBTimes UK that this action could send the English-speaking regions into a cycle of guerilla attacks by protesters against security forces.

Gambia Voted to Oust its Dictator, But He isn’t Going Quietly (Huffington Post – January 18)

The small West African nation of Gambia is rapidly approaching a crucial deadline. On Thursday, authoritarian President Yahya Jammeh’s 23-year-long rule is set to end after his unexpected election defeat last month. But there is little indication that Jammeh intends to give up power. 

Gambia’s Neighbors Reportedly Prepare Troops to Oust Brutal and Bizarre Dictator (Foreign Policy – January 17)

West African countries are reportedly preparing for a military intervention in Gambia if President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down on Thursday, the day that his successor Adama Barrow was scheduled to take office.

Gambia’s Strongman Seeks Asylum in Nigeria (International Business Times – January 12)

"Many people have wondered whether this might be the sort of arrangement that Jammeh had been seeking all along, and might help explain his sudden refusal to accept defeat. For many reasons, a deal that would land Jammeh in another country, safe and avoiding prosecution for his many brutal crimes, would send the wrong message," said Jeffrey Smith, director of Vanguard Africa. 

The Gambia: Political Dispute Roils the Region and Beyond (The Cipher Brief – January 11)

Executive Director of Vanguard Africa Jeffrey Smith tells The Cipher Brief, “The Gambia is undoubtedly a pariah state in West Africa and an extreme outlier in regards to other countries in the region who are performing rather well on a range of issues, including respect for political rights, civil liberties, and economic advancement.”

Why a Political Crisis in this Small African Country May Have Big Global Implications (UN Dispatch – January 11)

"I think Gambians ought to be commended for the peaceful manner in which they have dealt with this increasingly tense situation, and in spite of Jammeh’s many provocations. Overall, Gambians are simply ready to move on. They are ready to move on from the Jammeh dictatorship and begin to heal from the collective trauma that they have suffered since July 1994."