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After sending emergency flights to bring some 2,500 tourists home from the Gambia, British tour operators have now suspended all flights to the UK from the crisis-hit country.

Thomas Cook has confirmed that while they have managed to get everyone on a package tour out of the country, some of those who travelled on a flight only basis could be left in the Gambia because flights there have now been stopped.

Holidaymakers were forced to flee the Gambia earlier this week over fears that the country is about to be plunged into conflict because of political unrest. President Yahya Jammeh earlier declared a 90-day state of emergency rather than stand down to his successor Adama Barrow, who is a former Argos security guard. However, Jammeh is now understood to be leaving Gambia for Guinea after neighbouring states threatened to step in when he said he would remain in power for a billion years. However, there are now fears that a civil war could break out.

Urged to leave

Tourists who had travelled to the Gambia were told they should leave because of the threat of violent unrest. Around 1,000 people who had headed to the country for some winter sunshine were told to pack up their suitcases and get on buses bound for the airport.

Thomas Cook said that it had managed to get all customers out of the country who wanted to leave, but that its final flight had now gone. It said that those who decided to stay were Gambian nationals, dual nationals, or people who were on longer stays.

However, those in the tourist industry have expressed fears about how they will make a living now that holidaymakers have been ordered to leave. Gambia is very popular with tourists looking to escape the cold winter in Britain because of its year round sunshine and pristine beaches.

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Elizabeth
A journalist from the South West of England, Elizabeth specialises in writing about politics, health and technology.