Gambia leaves 'neo-colonial' Commonwealth

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Associated Press

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 2 at 8:03 PM

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The West African nation of Gambia has announced it is withdrawing from the Commonwealth, a collection of 54 nations made up largely of former British colonies, saying it will "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution."

It was not immediately clear what triggered the decision, which was announced in a statement on Wednesday.

Though a popular destination for British tourists, Gambia has been criticized in the past by the United Kingdom for human rights abuses, including when it executed nine death-row inmates by firing squad in August of last year.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticized the government of President Yahya Jammeh for cracking down on dissent and targeting political opponents and sexual minorities for arrest and detention, among other alleged abuses.

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