Adama Barrow, the president of The Gambia whose victory finally removed strongman Yahya Jammeh from office after 22 years, has successfully completed a hajj pilgrim to Saudi Arabia.
Barrow returned to Banjul on Wednesday after a journey with his wives, Fatoumata Barrow and Sarjo Barrow, as well as a delegation of Gambian officials. They included the nation’s foreign minister, the minister of interior and the tourism minister, as well as Omar Sallah, the Gambian ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The group left Banjul at the weekend to join more than 1,400 Gambians from the primarily Muslim nation who were issued hajj visas, and some 2 million pilgrims heading to Mecca from around the world.
Upon completing the pilgrimage, Barrow urged fellow Gambians to continue moving forward in peace following the holy Eid al-Adha season.
Barrow, who also attended diplomatic meetings while in Saudi Arabia, returns to a nation struggling to right its course after the decades of Jammeh leadership marked by repression and human rights violations. He also faces mounting political and economic pressures at home.
Opposition politicians say they are not being treated fairly under the Barrow administration; just weeks ago, Gambia Democratic Party leader Mama Kandeh and his party say they were denied a police permit to hold a march. Kandeh has complained of politically motivated intimidation in recent weeks as well.
The Gambia continues to grapple with how to handle crimes associated with Jammeh and his associates. The country, with assistance from the regional West African body ECOWAS, the European Union and other entities, continues national dialogues to help guide the political process.
Image: Adama Barrow file