President Yahya Jammeh has deployed armed soldiers loyal to him to secure the capital after he rejected election results Friday night, according to reports.
Soldiers were seen placing sandbags at strategic locations and mounting machine guns, putting the African Union, ECOWAS, and Western diplomats in fear that there may be post-electoral unrest in the West African nation.
Jammeh recently promoted 49 officers of The Gambian army, a move that is seen by opposition activists as a way to earn their loyalty to defend him.
Jammeh’s security chiefs have pledged allegiance to the President-elect Adama Barrow, who is backed by seven opposition parties and an independent candidate.
The United States has urged The Gambia’s military, which had backed Jammeh during his 22-year rule to uphold the will of the people.
The Gambia’s military is divided over Jammeh’s loss. Jammeh reportedly has the backing of his trusted Generals in his elite presidential guard units: the State Guard and Republican National Guard. It has pitched the two units against the remaining army outside of the presidency.
Locals reported that senior government officials were sending their families outside the country as tensions rise.
President-elect Adama Barrow said there will be no fresh elections as Jammeh seek to challenge the results at the Supreme Court.