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Gambia crisis deepens as isolated leader fails to quit

Jan 19, 2017, 7:02 AM EST
Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh (right)
(Source: USAFRICOM/flickr)

The last-ditch attempts to resolve the ongoing political crisis in The Gambia suffered a final blow on Wednesday after incumbent president Yahya Jammeh rejected calls from regional leaders to step down. Meanwhile, Adama Barrow, who emerged victorious in the country’s contentious elections, announced on social media that his swearing in ceremony will be held at Gambia’s embassy in neighboring Senegal.

Jammeh, who refused to step down citing inconsistencies in the electoral process, faces the threat of military intervention by West African nations, including Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal, reports the BBC.

According to the United Nations, the possibility of violence breaking out in the country has prompted some 26,000 Gambians to seek refuge in Senegal, writes Reuters.

Robin Sanders, a former U.S. ambassador to E.C.O.W.A.S., said it remains unclear how the Gambian military will respond to an external intervention, adding that a medium-term compromise, like the one done in the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be achieved, notes Al Jazeera.