The Gambian parliament extended President Yahya Jammeh’s term by three months on Wednesday, just one day before President-elect Adama Barrow is scheduled to be inaugurated.
Parliament also approved of Mr. Jammeh’s 90-day state of emergency that he declared on Tuesday, BBC reports.
Meanwhile, regional West African militaries are prepared to intervene militarily to remove Mr. Jammeh by force if he refuses to hand over power to the democratically-elected Adama Barrow, who defeated Mr. Jammeh in the December 1, 2016 presidential contest, on Thursday.
A Nigerian warship was deployed to the coast of The Gambia on Tuesday in preparation for a military operation, while Nigerian troops arrived at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military base in Senegal on Wednesday morning. BBC reports that Ghana and Senegal will also contribute troops to the regional force.
Nigerian Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar disclosed to Punch Newspaper that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) would contribute fighter jets to the regional force.
In anticipation of military action, Gambians and tourists have fled the country en masse.
Reuters reports that some 26,000 Gambians have fled the country and taken refuge in neighboring Senegal. European tourists in The Gambia have begun to end their vacations early and embark home, on the advice of their respective governments. Roughly 1000 British tourists alone were evacuated from the small West African country on Wednesday.