Jammeh is believed to have stolen an estimated $1bn during his rule [File: Issouf Sanogo/AFP]

The Gambia’s longtime leader Yahya Jammeh, who fled into exile three years ago after an election loss, has announced plans to return to the West African nation where human rights activists say he ordered the killings of political opponents during his rule.

The deputy spokesman for Jammeh’s political party released several audio recordings to the media over the weekend of conversations between Jammeh and a top party official.

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“I am coming back. They said they drove me out of the country. Apart from Allah [God], nobody can take me out of The Gambia,” Jammeh is heard saying.

The recordings could not be independently verified and it was

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