BANJUL (Reuters) – Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after refusing to hand power to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won an election last month.
State television said the emergency would prevent a power vacuum while the supreme court rules on Jammeh’s petition challenging the election result.
That suggests Jammeh will stay in power beyond Thursday, when Barrow was due to have been sworn in as president.
Regional leaders have threatened to intervene militarily if Jammeh does not step down and on Tuesday a senior Nigerian army source said Nigeria and other West African states were preparing a military force.
“I … hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout the Islamic Republic of Gambia,” Jammeh’s declaration said.
The state of emergency banned “acts of disobedience” and “acts intended to disturb public order”.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja, Emma Farge in Diouloulou and Edward McAllister in Dakar; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by James Dalgleish)