Agency report

jammeh
The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh (Photo by AFP)

Embattled Gambia president Yahya Jammeh has ordered staff of the country’s electoral body to resume work, even as ECOWAS force are on alert.

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The staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) have not gone to work since the military seized the office.

But defeated Jammeh has ordered the staff to return to their offices unhindered with immediate effect, APA reports.

A statement from the Presidency read over the state television on Wednesday evening, explained that the deployment of soldiers at Election House was due to “imminent security threat that it would be burnt down.

In the meantime, with the Commission’s office still heavily guarded by members of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), it is hard to see how staff could proceed with their normal work.

The Presidency henceforth refuted reports by online news outlets on the deployment of soldiers at the IEC offices, linking it to the outcome of the December 1 election.

Security forces took over the Election House days after President Jammeh rejected the election results and annulled the election, demanding a fresh election.

ECOWAS forces on alert

Meanwhile, ECOWAS commission’s president, Marcel de Souza, has said that West Africa’s regional bloc has put standby forces on alert in case Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on Jan. 19.

He warned that the regional powers may intervene to oust him if diplomacy does not succeed in persuading him to leave.

“We have put standby forces on alert if he does not step down on Jan. 19 when his mandate ends.

“No one has the right to oppose the will of the people,’’ De Souza told newsmen.

Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was seen across Africa as a moment of hope.