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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Gambia campaign draws to a close
Supporters of Gambia's new opposition coalition
Opposition supporters are hopeful of victory
There have been clashes in Gambia between security forces and opposition supporters ahead of Thursday's presidential elections.

President Yahya Jammeh - Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
Ousainou Darboe - Three-party opposition alliance
Sherriff Mustapha Dibba - National Convention Party
Hamat Bah - National Reconstruction Party
Sidia Jatta - People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism

The main alliance opposition candidate Ousainou Darboe received a rousing welcome from several thousand people on Monday night as he reached the outskirts of the capital after a campaign tour of rural areas.

Wave after wave of his supporters, dressed in the party colour yellow and shouting enthusiastically, surged along the road.

But police fired shots in the air to disperse them.

They said they were seeking to prevent a clash with supporters of incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh, who were also marching nearby.

Important test

There are no reports of any injuries.

Ousainou Darboe
The main opposition hope is Ousainou Darboe
On Sunday, several people were injured in clashes between rival supporters.

Mr Jammeh who is seeking re-election, seized power in a coup in 1994 and won an election two years later.

Our West Africa correspondent says this election is an important test for democracy in the Gambia, which has never had a presidential race as close as the current contest.


But there have already been accusations of fraud.

The opposition says the former military regime, which wants to perpetuate its rule, has manufactured false cards so imposters can vote.

Gambia's President Yayha Jammeh
President Jammeh seized power in 1994
They say they have discovered false identity cards which might allow paid stooges from a neighbouring country to cast a ballot for the ruling party.

The campaign ends on Tuesday night.

The other candidates are Sherriff Mustapha Dibba of the National Convention Party, Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party and Sidia Jatta of the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism.

Opposition supporter in Banjul
"They are shooting live bullets"
Opposition leader Ousainou Daboe
"We'll go through turbulence if we have to"
See also:

09 May 01 | Africa
Timeline: Gambia
04 Oct 01 | Africa
Violence mars Gambia campaign
11 Apr 00 | Africa
Protests at Gambia killings
04 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Gambia
18 Dec 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
George W's African adventure
21 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia hit by pre-poll fever
23 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia kicks out British diplomat
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