Troops in place to remove Gambia's president from power

A deadline for President Yahya Jammeh to cede power has passed

Troops in place to remove Gambia's president from power

The streets of Banjul deserted on Wednesday. Special flights were being organized Wednesday to evacuate other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention looms. | Image: AP/Press Association Images

Senegalese troops are poised to cross the border into The Gambia after a deadline for President Yahya Jammeh to cede power passed.

The Gambian President is refusing to accept the end of his leadership following the election of Adama Barrow, a former Argos security guard in London, in December elections.

The country is in a state of emergency and last-ditch diplomatic efforts to convince Mr Jammeh to step aside have failed.

The leaders of Mauritania and Senegal met with the President-elect and Mr Jammeh in the early hours.

But there are no signs the 51-year-old who has ruled the west African country with an iron fist since seizing power in a coup in 1994, is ready to concede defeat.

Nigeria has deployed fighter jets and surveillance planes to Senegal, while Ghana has also pledged to contribute to the regional force.

The Gambia's army chief has asserted his troops will not fight the entry of outside forces.

"We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute," said Ousman Badjie.

"I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men.

"If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this," he added, holding his hands up in the gesture of a surrender.

Advice for Ireland

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said they are making contact with Irish people registered with it in Gambia.

It is advising citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the African nation due to growing political unrest.

In a statement, the department said: "Because there is no Irish embassy or consulate in Gambia, we're limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management," it adds.

In an emergency, citizens can contact the Irish embassy in Abuja, Nigeria on +234-9-462-0611 - or the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353-1-408-2000.