ECOWAS sets up standby force to be deployed if Yahya Jammeh fails to leave power


West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS has mobilized a standby force to get into action in case Gambian President Yahya Jammeh fails to step down when his mandate ends on January 19.

ECOWAS commission president Marcel de Souza said says the bloc has put up the force because nobody has the right to oppose the will of the people.

“We have put standby forces on alert if he does not (step down) on Jan. 19 when his mandate ends,” De Souza said on Malian state television on Thursday evening.

“No one has the right to oppose the will of the people.”

Jammeh has vowed not to leave power despite losing the December 1 election to Adama Barrow.

De Souza said that the regional bloc has mandated Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as mediator to offer Jammeh an “honourable exit”, but if he does not take it then forces might be deployed.

Senegal has indicated that military action would be an absolute last resort.

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