Gambia's long-time leader, Yahya Jammeh, has said on Saturday (21 January) that he would leave the president's office in the nation's interest. "I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation," he said in a televised interview, wearing a white robe.

The leader of 22 years continued that his decision was taken for the benefit of the people. He is proud to have served the Gambian people, he added, urging them work together as one nation.

However, his decision to step down came in the aftermath of the pressure he faced after West African armies entered the Gambia to oust him, reports say.

Jammeh, who was defeated by Adama Barrow in December, had initially conceded defeat, but later changed his mind and refused to step down from the post, citing an unfair vote.

Meanwhile, newly-elected President Barrow — who was in Senegal for days after a state of emergency was declared in the small West African state when Jammeh refused to step down — was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, in neighbouring Senegal, on Thursday.

Guinea's President Alpha Conde and Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz also travelled to the capital city of Banjul on Friday to give Jammeh one last chance to surrender power peacefully, Reuters reported.

Gambia's President Adama Barrow
Gambia's President Adama Barrow is seen in Dakar, Senegal on 20 January after a senior aide confirmed that Gambia's longtime leader Yahya Jammeh has agreed to leave power REUTERS/Sophia Shadid