GENEVA, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) — The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Friday that some 45,000 civilians are reported to have fled Gambia into bordering Senegal as troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) give Gambia’s veteran leader Yahya Jammeh a last chance to step down peacefully.
“Authorities in Senegal have developed plans to distribute food and relief items to up to 100,000 people,” UNHCR said in a statement.
“Food will include rice, oil and sugar while non-food items will include mattresses, mats, blankets, sheets and soaps,” it added.
According to figures, over three quarters of arrivals are children and women. Most are staying either with family members, host families or in hotels.
At least 800 people have also crossed into Guinea-Bissau, to the south of Senegal, UNHCR said.
The Senegalese army, backed by other West African soldiers, entered Gambia Thursday afternoon in a military operation aimed at forcing Jammeh to cede power to Adama Barrow who was sworn in Thursday in Dakar as the new president of Gambia.
The UN Security Council on Thursday urged all Gambian parties and West African countries to ensure peaceful transition of power in Gambia.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-nation council requested that Jammeh transfer power to President Adama Barrow by Jan. 19, 2017 in accordance with the Gambian constitution.