New Gambian president thanks unified nation, promises reform

Gambian president's swearing in marks turning point for nation

Thousands have attended the inauguration ceremony of Gambia's new president as the West African nation celebrates wider freedoms after a tense political stand-off with its former leader.

Barrow was sworn in before thousands of Gambians at a soccer stadium in a town near the capital, Banjul.

The official swearing-in of President Barrow has also been tied to The Gambia's 52nd Independence Day celebration. On Saturday, he was officially sworn in as president.

Already, Barrow has committed to stay in the International Criminal Court (ICC), rejoin the Commonwealth, and free political prisoners.

Long time leader, Jammeh, agreed to step down after being prevailed upon by leaders of Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).

"Gambia has changed forever".

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Mr Barrow (52), a former property developer who has never previously held public office, defied predictions by defeating the sitting president Yahya Jammeh in an election in December.

President Sall is a guest of honour at the ceremony, while Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who pushed for mediation efforts with Jammeh during his last days in office, is also expected.

The global community has warmed to Barrow's approach, with the European Union announcing an $80 million package of support after breaking off assistance amid tensions with Jammeh.

He has promised to reverse many of Jammeh's policies which stretched over more than two decades of power.

The regional force secured the country during the transition, which remained peaceful.

US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield is ecpected to be at the event.

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