West Africa regional bloc says forces “on alert” for Gambia

president-of-the-ecowas-commission-marcel-de-souza

President of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel de Souza

West Africa’s regional bloc has put standby forces “on alert” in case President Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on Jan. 19, president of the ECOWAS commission Marcel de Souza said late on Thursday.

Jammeh has vowed to stay in power despite being declared loser by the country electoral authorities to rival Adama Barrow. ECOWAS has previously said  it would take “all necessary actions” to resolve the impasse.

The President’s ruling APRC party is now challenging the result in Gambia’s Supreme Court.

Regional leaders have mandated Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to mediate the crisis and are offering Jammeh an “honourable exit”, but if he does not take it then forces could be deployed, De Souza said on Malian state television.

“… we have put standby forces on alert if he does not take it on Jan 19 when his mandate ends…,” De Souza said.

Senegal has indicated that military action would be a last resort and President Macky Sall said earlier this week that he thought Buhari would be able to make Jammeh see reason.

Source: Reuters news agency

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