Gambia (officially English The Gambia or Republic of The Gambia) is a republic in West Africa, which lies on the banks of the Gambia. With the exception of a short stretch of coast where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the Gambia is completely enclosed by the state of Senegal. With a total area of approximately 11,000 square kilometers, the country is the smallest state on mainland Africa. The Gambia has around 2.05 million inhabitants (as of July 2017). Its largest metropolitan area is the Kombo-St. Mary Area, the capital is Banjul. The Gambia is a republic under President Adama Barrow. On December 12, 2015, then President Yahya Jammeh declared Gambia became an Islamic state. The young lieutenant Jammeh came to power in 1994 through a military, but largely bloodless coup d'état, which arose out of a protest by soldiers about late payments. At that time he announced that he wanted to rule alone until at least 1998. Nevertheless, elections were held again in 1996, from which Jammeh emerged as the clear winner. A new constitution was introduced in 1997. In fact, the years from 1996 to 2000 were marked by a certain stability and economic upturn. In 2000, according to Amnesty International, at least 14 people were killed in a street battle between student protesters and police. Schools were temporarily closed, and patrols dominated the cityscape at night. Deyda Hydara , a journalist critical of the government, was murdered on December 16, 2004 . He had previously denounced the new media law, according to which journalists can be sentenced to at least six months' imprisonment for writing “defamatory articles” such as defamation or publishing inflammatory articles. Four days after the crime, hundreds of journalists protested against Hydara's murder and for freedom of the press. In 2011, opponents of the regime in the diaspora, especially in the USA and Great Britain, founded the Coalition for Change, which sees itself as an oppositional political and civil rights movement. One of the founders was the country's former Minister of Information, Amadou Scattred Janneh , who is also a US citizen and worked at the US Embassy in Gambia until he was appointed Minister in 2003. He was arrested in 2011 and released in 2012 under pressure from American civil rights activists. On August 23, 2012, nine political prisoners were shot dead on death row. These were the first “official” executions in the Gambia in 30 years. Since 2014 there have been increasing reports of massive human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial executions and the persecution of homosexuals. President Yahya Jammeh described homosexuals as "vermin" that should be "killed like mosquitoes". He also said that they were “more dangerous than tsunamis and earthquakes” and that he would “cut the necks of homosexuals with his own hands”. The EU and USA then froze their economic support programs for Gambia. In the presidential elections on December 1, 2016, President Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office after 22 years in office after threatening the opposition with death. There were numerous arrests and prison sentences during the election campaign. After Jammeh refused to resign after the election, Senegalese troops were relocated to the Gambian border with the support of Nigeria and were supposed to overthrow the border if he did not resign by midnight on January 19, 2017. The United Nations Security Council had previously passed a resolution on the intervention of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) in Gambia. Adama Barrow was sworn in as the new president on January 19, 2017 in the Gambian embassy in neighboring Senegal. Senegalese troops marched into Gambia on January 19, 2017. Gambia's chief of staff, Ousman Badjie , previously spoke out against fighting. He will not sacrifice the lives of his men for a political argument. After the ultimatum had expired, the neighboring states made a final attempt to negotiate with Jammeh on January 20 ; Jammeh eventually gave up and resigned as President of The Gambia. Ex-President Jammeh left the country on January 21, 2017 . The following week Barrow returned to Gambia and presented his cabinet to Adama Barrow on February 1 . In April 2017, Barrow's party, the United Democratic Party, won 31 of the 48 seats available , while Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction lost almost all seats. The Gambia is a member of various international organizations and groups. The most important of these include the United Nations and its sub and specialized organizations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. At the regional level, the African Union and the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) are most important. The Gambia has no natural resources that can be developed economically - agriculture, tourism and fishing are the country's main industries. Exports - estimated at 120 million US dollars in 2016 - went to around 48 percent in 2016 to China, around 27 percent to India and just under 9 percent to the United Kingdom. In the same year, 34 percent of imports came from China. The country has a large trade deficit due to the low competitiveness of its domestic industry. In 2016 it was just under 20% of economic output. In order to meet its import needs, the country has to borrow heavily. In 2016, the national debt was 116% of GDP, making it one of the highest in the world. The most common natural disasters threatening the country are bushfires, droughts, coastal erosion, floods, sandstorms and locust plagues. Since the 1970s - together with bush fires - there have been more frequent drought disasters. Since the mid-1980s, sandstorms that last more than three days have occurred almost annually. In the past 20 years, large stretches of the coastline between Banjul and Tanji have been damaged by erosion during storm surges, with considerable loss of property. Recently, the river has been flooded annually, damaging fields and buildings in many parts of the country. In 2004, the entire West African region controlled a huge population of locusts. The Gambian government therefore declared a state of emergency as a precaution. The expansion of arable land, overgrazing through livestock farming, bush fires and unauthorized logging has reduced the proportion of forest from around 70 percent in the 1960s to less than nine percent in 2000.