Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared a state of emergency in the country mere hours before his opposition leader and President-elect Adama Barrow is set to take office.
Barrow won elections last year to oust the 24 year regime of Jammeh, but the long time leader has refused to step down, claiming the polls were rigged against him.
Barrow has fled to Senegal for his safety till Thursday’s inauguration, but it’s unclear if the event would even occur now after Jammeh declared a state of emergency over the country.
Speaking on national tv, Jammeh declared that under the state of emergency, “any acts of disobedience to the laws The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” are banned.
Jammeh denounced ‘extraordinary’ outside interference in the internal affairs of The Gambia – after the African Union declared it would not recognise him as President once his term expires and ECOWAS deployed a Nigerian warship to apply pressure on him.
Senegal, which borders Gambia on all its sides, is currently hosting a sub regional force which is ready to enter The Gambia if the order is given – although ECOWAS maintains military intervention would be the very last resort.