The Gambian government has confirmed that the body of ex-president Yahya Jammeh’s mother will be flown back and buried in the country but the former leader will not be accompanying his mother back.
Hajia Asombi Bojang, Jammeh’s mother died on Saturday (July 28) in Equatorial Guinea where her son is in exile. She has since 2017 been in the Central African country with her son after he left power having lost December 2016 presidential polls.
The government issued a condolence message before dispatching the vice-president to pay a visit to the Jammeh family.
According to government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh, the deceased as a citizen had the right to be buried in the country especially as it was her wish.
“The mother of the former president is a Gambian citizen who was born in the Gambia and it is her wish to be buried here,” he told a local media outlet, The Fatu Network.
Sankareh added: “The former President will not be coming to the burial. He has no plans to attend it. The government is not aware of any plans of him coming to The Gambia.”
He said the body was likely to be accompanied by Equatorial Guinea government officials or a member of the Jammeh family. According to him both governments had maintained contact over the orderly transfer of the deceased for final funeral rites.
Gambians on social media have largely commiserated with the Jammeh family over their loss with a number of them pointing out how Jammeh had refused to allow the body of exiled Gambians to be returned home for burial when he was president.
Jammeh is barred from returning home any time soon. A recent tape on social media, however, disclosed that the former leader had plans to return to The Gambia. That view has been condemned by the government.
Jammeh left the country along with other top generals of his regime January 2017 after his tenure ended with the swearing-in of Adama Barrow – then leader of an opposition coalition – in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
Conditions were not favourable at home as Jammeh refused to leave power, ECOWAS leaders flew with Barrow to Senegal for a summit and he was sworn-in at Gambia’s Embassy in Dakar.
Jammeh later agreed to leave the country to avert bloodshed. He had wanted a rerun of the presidential polls, which consition was rejected by ECOWAS leaders. A regional force was in place to oust in if he had refused to quit.