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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Gambia's president says that he wants to implement a policy change that would shift the country's language from English to a local language.

Yahya Jammeh said Friday that "we no longer subscribe to the belief that for you to be a government you should speak English language." He spoke during the swearing-in ceremony of Gambia's new Chief Justice.

He made the announcement months after the West African country announced it is withdrawing from the Commonwealth, a collection of 54 nations made up largely of former British colonies.

Though a popular destination for British tourists, Gambia has been criticized by the United Kingdom and rights groups for human rights abuses.

Jammeh, who came to power in a military coup, said Western countries have no "moral platform" to talk about human rights.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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