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Gambian govt condemns ex-president's 'shocking' return pledge

"Neither man nor (spirit) can stop me from coming back to The Gambia," Jammeh said in the leaked tape, comments the current government subsequently called "shocking and subversive".

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It said that in light of Jammeh's record of "state-orchestrated disappearances, kidnappings, murders," it would act accordingly and decisively, without further elaborating.

"The leaked tape revealed in significant detail the former President's desperate efforts to stay politically relevant in The Gambia even as his trail of terror and economic crimes are being cased for potential criminal prosecution," the government said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the former ruling party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), said it was probing the leak of a call between its members and the ex-president - the first time the country's old ruler has been heard of since he fled in 2017.

Jammeh, whose 22-year-rule was marked by numerous human rights violations, lost the presidential election in December 2016 to then opposition leader Adama Barrow.

He went into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his rule.

There have been numerous calls for Jammeh to be returned to his native country to be prosecuted for the alleged human rights abuses, including the killing and torture of opponents -- although a share of the population still supports him.

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