By Kevin Sieff
NAIROBI — Senegalese troops entered Gambia on Thursday in a bid to force the West African country’s longtime leader to step down after an election loss, news services reported, and the successor chosen by voters last month took the oath of office in exile.
“We have entered Gambia,” Senegalese army Col. Abdou Ndiaye wrote in a text message to the Reuters news agency. There were no other immediate details of the reported incursion.
Earlier Thursday, Gambia, a tiny country known for its large number of migrants fleeing to Europe and a coastline that draws scores of British sunbathers, gained a new distinction: as a nation with two presidents.
One is Yahya Jammeh, 51, the mercurial strongman who has ruled Gambia for 23 years and refused to step down after losing last month’s presidential election — even as troops from neighboring Senegal threatened to invade the country to oust him.
The other is Adama Barrow, also 51, who defeated Jammeh and was inaugurated in a small ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Gambian Embassy in Senegal.