Gambian President Yahya Jammeh looked determined to cling to power on Wednesday as his mandate came to an end, prompting neighboring Senegal to ask the U.N. to back regional actions against him.
Jammeh has announced a state of emergency, which he said was necessary due to interference of foreign powers in the West African country’s Dec. 1 election, which the president of 22 years lost to opponent Adama Barrow.
Barrow, who is currently sheltered in Senegal, maintains his inauguration will go ahead on Thursday on Gambian soil, putting the country on a collision course.
The 15-nation Economic Community Of West African States, ECOWAS, has repeatedly urged Jammeh to respect the outcome of the vote and step aside.
A source at Nigeria’s military HQ told AFP a deployment to Senegal, whose territory surrounds Gambia, would happen “very soon,” ramping up expectations of a possible military intervention.
Jammeh seized power in a coup 20 years ago and wields tight control over the impoverished West African country of 1.8 million people.