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Gambia’s former ruling party is probing the leak of a call between its members and ex-president Yahya Jammeh — the first time the country’s old ruler has been heard of since he fled in 2017.

“We are already investigating how this audio was leaked,” said Dodou Jah, the spokesman of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

A 10-minute audio recording of the call between Jammeh and a senior APRC figure, Yankuba Colley, was leaked over the weekend and widely shared on social media.

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

He had not been heard of since he went into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his rule.

In the recorded call, the former autocrat is heard saying: “What I wish for The Gambia would come to fruition. I have once told Gambians that they will not know who I am until I leave that country,” in a hint that his involvement in Gambian politics could resume.

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The APRC spokesman said that while some in the party were unhappy about the leak, others were hoping to show the public he is in good health, after rumours he had “suffered a stroke and cannot even talk”.

“This audio has proven that Jammeh is healthy as he could be heard laughing and cracking jokes during his discussion with the APRC executive members.”

There have been numerous calls for Jammeh to be returned to his native country to be prosecuted for the alleged human rights abuses he committed, including the killing and torture of opponents.

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