A Nigerian military source has disclosed that a joint West African force will intervene in the Gambia if President Jammeh refuses to peacefully handover power at the end of his tenure.
The force is believed to be led by Nigeria. Senegal has also been a strong candidate to participate in such a force given that they are the Gambia’s only neighbours by land.
“A decision has been taken that he will not remain president of Gambia at the expiration of his tenure,” the source is quoted by Reuters news agency to have said.
Jammeh’s term ends on January 19 on the same day winner of the December 1 polls, Adama Barrow is expected to be sworn-in. Barrow enjoys the support of the regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently in Senegal.
He is expected to be flown in accompanied by ECOWAS leaders to be sworn in on Thursday.
ECOWAS appointed Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and ex Ghana president John Mahama as mediators in the political impasse. But the mediation effort failed due to Jammeh’s hard stance during negotiations.
ammeh has in a past broadcast slammed ECOWAS for declaring war on a member state – contrary to its charter. He said at the time that he was ready for the war and to defend the Gambian constitution.
The Army Chief also declared that they were behind Jammeh in an address released early this year. Meanwhile defections continue to hit Jammeh’s government as ambassadors and ministers quit and flee the tiny West African country.
Jammeh accepted conceded defeat in the polls but reversed his decision citing electoral irregularity. Two cases his party filed in court to annul the poll results and to halt Thursday’s inauguration of Barrow; were unsuccessful.
The Chief Justice, Nigerian Emmanuel Fagbenle, ruled that there were no judges to sit on the cases. Gambia usually uses the services of judges from fellow West African countries in its superior court.