The Senegalese Foreign Minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, said on Sunday that there was no agreement among African leaders to give former President Yahya Jammeh immunity before he decided to step down.
The immunity will have shielded Jammeh from being probed and his property confiscated, but Ndiaye said such an agreement was not signed by members of the Economic Community of West African States during negotiations that convinced Jammeh to go into exile.
The foreign minister spoke after the African Union, the United Nations and ECOWAS published a joint declaration from the three bodies “with the purpose of reaching a peaceful resolution to the political situation in The Gambia.”
They pledged, among other things, to protect Jammeh’s rights “as a citizen, a party leader and a former Head of State,” to prevent the seizure of property belonging to him and his allies, and to ensure he could eventually return to Gambia.
Jammeh, who is accused of rights violations, led his country for 22 years but refused to accept defeat in a December election won by Adama Barrow. He flew out of the capital Banjul late on Saturday as a regional military force was poised to oust him.
Jammeh’s decision to step down had prompted speculation over the terms agreed during two days of negotiations led by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
“President Jammeh and his team concocted a declaration to be endorsed by (regional bloc) ECOWAS, the United Nations and the African Union that gave him every guarantee, essentially impunity.
“This declaration was signed by no one. I want to be clear on the fact that no ECOWAS head of state validated this declaration,” Ndiaye told Reuters.