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Biography of Yahya Jammeh

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Yahya Abdul Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh is the president of Gambia who has served since 1996. He was born to a Senegalese immigrant family on May 25th 1965 in Kanilai, Gambia. During the military coup in 1994, Jammeh, as a young army officer, took power of the country.

In 1989, Jammeh became the member of the presidential security force of President Dawda Jawara. He also participated in Gambian peacekeeping force sent to Liberia and trained in Turkey and The US. As a lieutenant in the Military Police of Yundum Barracks and the chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), Jammeh altogether with the Gambian National army seized power from President Dawda Jawara on July 22nd 1994. The coup ran smoothly without any bloodshed and met with very little resistance. Soon after that, in 1996, Jammeh was elected to be the new president of Gambia at the age of 29 and was said to be the youngest president at that time. He was re-elected in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

On 12 December2015, Jammeh declared Gambia as an Islamic republic, at a political rally, which has contributed unstable relationships with the West. The proclamation was in line with Gambia's "religious identity and values”; however; no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practise freely.

As a President, Jammeh created Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) to help overcome poverty among Gambians, improve agricultural production, sponsor educational opportunities for needy students and provide medical services to the general public. He also banned child marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). He is the first president who set laws against LGBT and would “cut off the head” of those discovered in the country. He gave a final ultimatum, in his speech in Tallinding, to all LGBTs in the Gambia to leave the country.

Despite his good side, there are so many criticisms upon Jammeh’s leadership. Some even said that he is the worst dictator ever. He was accused of restricting press freedom and alleged of some human rights abuses because of the killing of 12 students and a journalist during a demonstration, disappearances and imprisonments of dozens of individuals, massacre of Ghanaian immigrants, etc.

Below is his biography.

Name: Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh
Date of Birth: 25 May 1965
Place of Birth: Kanilai, Gambia
Nationality: Gambia
Political party: Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
Wife: Madam Zineb Jammeh
Children: Mariam, Mohammed
Religion: Sunni Islam
Allegiance: Gambia
Military Service: Gambia National Army
Years of Service: 1984–1996
Rank: Colonel

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