As the pressure mounts on President Yahya Jammeh to vacate the seat of power a few hours to the expiration of his tenure, the United States has issued a final warning to the recalcitrant President to step down or face the consequences of his action.
Gambian Presidential plane is on standby at the tarmac of the Banjul International Airport. Jammeh, whose wife is from Morroco is believed to have been offered asylum by the government of Morocco and has accepted.
But the Gambia parliament has extended Jammeh’s tenure by three months even as tourists flee the country enmasse.
The US told Jammeh that he was loosing opportunities available to him and that it was not ruling out military support for ECOWAS.
On the other hand, Senegal on Wednesday presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council seeking support for ECOWAS efforts to press Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to step down, diplomats said.
“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday. Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.
“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this’, Spokesman in the Department of State, John Kirby, said.
On Jammeh’s claim of foreign interference, he said: “I don’t know what interference he’s referring to, but we obviously want to see the Gambia succeed. And we want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government, which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people.”
He said US was not ruling out the use of force.
“We do, and I’m not trying to back away from that in any way, shape, or form. I just would say that we do, obviously, support ECOWAS as a force for peace and security in the region, and specifically in The Gambia.
“Well, again, I don’t want to speak to what possible actions they may take. I don’t want to get out in front of those decisions,” he said
West African Bureau of Guardian cited diplomatic sources on the offer of political asylum to Jammeh by Morocco which it said he had accepted while his plane is ready on the tarmac.
“Ruth Maclean @ruthmaclean
Diplomatic sources say Morocco offered Jammeh asylum and he said he’ll take it if he loses the court case. But that’s prob in May #Gambia
“Jammeh’s plane waiting on the tarmac in Banjul airport, ready to go. It’s been there a week now #Gambia”, Guardian’s West African Correspondent tweeted.
Thousands of tourists and Gambians are leaving the country in droves to avoid planned military intervention by ECOWAS to force Jammeh out.