(JollofNews) – A large contingent of Senegalese troops is heading to the Gambia ahead of a planned military intervention aimed at flushing out President Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
According to villagers near the Gambian border, hundreds of heavily Senegalese soldiers were seen heading to the Gambia in the morning from Ziguinchor.
Senegal which surrounds the Gambia on three sides, and is currently harbouring President-elect Barrow, has given Mr Jammeh midnight deadline to quit. It has also reportedly put its airforce and other military units on standby.
Nigeria which was leading mediation efforts is reported to have also sent an air force contingent to Senegal. It’s newest warship, the NNS Unity is en route to the Gambia.
“We are waiting so that all political means have been exhausted. The mandate of the president is finished at midnight,” Seydou Maiga Mboro, a Senegalese military commander told Senegalese radio station RFM.
Mr Jammeh’s mandate expires at midnight tonight after his surprised defeat in last month’s election by opposition candidate Adama Barrow.
He is however refusing to relinquish power after accusing the country’s electoral commission of rigging the election in favour of the opposition.
His attempt to overturn the election result at the Supreme Court has been delayed because of a shortage of judges as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries.
The regional group, Ecowas, which tried unsuccessfully to convince Mr Jammeh to handover power peacefully has warned of serious consequences if Mr Barrow’s inauguration is blocked on Thursday.
But as the clock ticks, Mr Jammeh used the country’s National Assembly, which is dominated by his party to extend his mandate to 90 days. He also declared a state of emergency in the country due to what he called unprecedented foreign interference in the election and his country’s internal affairs.
Mr Jammeh has condemned the threats of military intervention and has vowed to defend the territorial integrity of the Gambia.