Gambia’s longtime leader Yahya Jammeh has asked the West African bloc ECOWAS for an extension of a midday deadline for him to leave power until 4 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), government sources said on Friday. Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the Gambian capital Banjul on Friday for last-ditch talks with Jammeh, witnesses said. It was not clear whether Jammeh intended to step down.
A regional military force that crossed the border in support of his democratically elected successor, Adama Barrow, was awaiting orders on Friday. MarcelAlain de Souza, chair of the west African union Ecowas, said troops would force Jammeh out if he refused to leave the country.
The west African troops entered the Gambia on Thursday night, hours after Barrow was forced to hold his inauguration as president in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. De Souza said the west African force, which includes tanks, has so far met no resistance.