Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh mandate has expired and refusing to cede power, allowing a regional force to be deployed to enforce the outcome of the elections in which he was defeated.
A last minute diplomatic pitch for Jammeh to leave power and avert a military showdown by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was unsuccessful.
Jammeh remains held up in Banjul after rejected at least two asylum offers from Nigeria and Morocco.
Jammeh now faces international condemnation and calls to hand over power to the recognized winner, Adama Barrow. He has declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in an attempt to hold on to power and regain control.
UN Security Council said it does not want to see the situation in the West African nation deteriorate further than it has. A spokesperson for the council said it is “up to one person, Yahya Jammeh, to draw the right conclusions and avoid escalations.”
Senegal circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member U.N. Security Council that would give “full support to the ECOWAS in its commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia”.
The country’s economy has been at a standstill since Jammeh’s rejection of the election results that sparked the crisis. More than 2,500 European tourists have been evacuated.
Jammeh claims there were massive fraud and abnormalities as Jammeh attempts to further divide the once prosperous and ostensibly unified.
Jammeh supporters also claim foreign powers are behind efforts to unseat the defeated and demoralized former leader.
Senegal’s army spokesman said that its forces are at the Gambian border and will enter at midnight if the veteran president, Yahya Jammeh, refuses to relinquish power.
Gambia has had only two rulers since independence in 1965. Jammeh seized power in a coup and his government has gained a reputation among ordinary Gambians and human rights activists for torturing and killing opponents.