Gambian Army Chief Ousman Badjie confirmed his loyalty and support for outgoing President Yahya Jammeh in a letter published on Wednesday.
“May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces,” Mr. Badjie said in a letter published in the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper.
Mr. Badjie’s letter of support was written in response to threats of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who urged Mr. Jammeh to peacefully hand over power to president-elect Adama Barrow. ECOWAS leaders warned that troops on standby in Senegal would be deployed to the Gambia should Mr. Jammeh refuse to step down by January 19, when his term expires.
The embattled Gambian president said that such intervention would be considered an act of war.
It would be recalled that Mr. Jammeh initially conceded defeat after losing the December 1 contest but reversed course a week later, causing a political crisis in the tiny West African country. Mr. Badjie had announced his support for president-elect Adama Barrow, but reaffirmed his allegiance to Mr. Jammeh after the Gambian leader’s U-turn, Reuters reports.
Mr. Jammeh has ruled the Gambia for 22 years, and the country has yet to undergo a peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.