After 22 years in power in the tiny West African country, former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh finally boarded a flight on Saturday evening and left The Gambia with Guinean President Alpha Conde.
In his usual white apparel, he was seen waving at a group of people who had gathered at the airport as he entered the plane.
The plane is headed to Guinea and from there he will travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea, regional group ECOWAS says.
It is not clear which other members of his entourage left with him but journalists stationed at the Banjul International airport also reported that supporters of Jammeh were seen grieving his departure.
A political stalemate arose in The Gambia after Mr Jammeh was defeated in December’s election by Adama Barrow. He accepted the results but later rejected them citing irregularities.
Barrow confirmed the departure of Jammeh, “I would like to inform you that the 2nd President of the Republic of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia,” a message on his Twitter handle read.
To avert a looming political crisis, the regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tried to mediate in the crisis but the two attempts by the group ended inconclusively.
The latest round of mediation with Jammeh was brokered by Guinean President Alpha Conde and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz – the terms of the agreement remain unknown for now.
Jammeh’s tenure ended on January 19, the same day Barrow was scheduled to take office. But a state of emergency declared by Jammeh with the support of the legislature could not allow the event to be held in Banjul.
ECOWAS arranged for Barrow to be sworn in at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal, where Barrow was staying. He flew out with ECOWAS mediators to Mali for the France-Africa summit before returning to Senegal.
Marcel de Souza, president of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), said the military operation that had sent West African troops into The Gambia in support of Mr Barrow, was now ended, although some would remain to ensure security.