African troops deployed to The Gambia in January to resolve a post-election political crisis will be reduced from 7,000 to 500. A statement from President Adama Barrow's office said the scaling down would begin no later than 19 February.

The Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) troops were deployed as Gambia faced a political deadlock when veteran leader Yahya Jammeh refused to relinquish power following his defeat in December's presidential elections.

The strongman eventually went into exile in Equatorial Guinea following pressure from world leaders and the military intervention.

Earlier in January, Barrow requested that troops "in the Gambia remain in the country until such time the security general situation is comprehensively redressed".

The president, along with thousands of refugees, was forced to temporarily relocate to Senegal following the political crisis amid fears a war could break out.

The 51-year-old leader, who returned to Banjul in January, said in an exclusive interview with IBTimes UK he was ready to rebuild a New Gambia through democratic principles.

Read IBTimes UK's coverage of Barrow's rise to power

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