Macky Yahya
President Macky Sall and Jammeh

(JollofNews) Senegal will lead military intervention to oust the Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh if he refuses to step down when his mandate expires on 19 January, a senior official of the West African regional grouping Ecowas has said.

“Stand-by forces” were on alert and would be deployed “to restore the people’s wish” if mediators, led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, failed to persuade Mr Jammeh to give up power, said Marcel Alain de Souza, the chairman of the Ecowas commission.

He added that it was not Ecowas’ “wish to set alight the zone” and if Mr Jammeh “loves” his people, he should “negotiate an exit door calmly”.

Mr Jammeh initially conceded victory to property developer Adama Barrow in the 1 December election, but he later called for the election to be annulled, alleging that it was marred by irregularities.

The Supreme Court has set 10 January as a date for a case brought by Mr Jammeh’s party to cancel the result.