Five West African nations have contributed at least 1,500 troops for a military intervention in The Gambia, where the defeated President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to step down.
Senegalese military spokesperson Amadou Ndiaye said they will be forced to activate their mission at midnight if President Yahya Jammeh does not step aside.
The troops, including 860 Nigerian are already in Senegal, although their locations remain unknown. Already 11 pilots, 11 crew members and 80 “supporting troops” have been deployed close to the Gambia’s border. Senegal and Ghana also are contributing to the force.
President Yahya Jammeh lost last month’s election and refusing to leave power.
West African mediators led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari were unsuccessful in their bid to prevail over the longtime ruler to hand over power to Adama Barrow.
Barrow is backed by eight opposition groups and rose to power after the jailing of the main opposition leader Ousainou Darboe.
President Yahya Jammeh has until midnight to reverse his decision rejecting asylum offers from Nigeria and Morocco.
(Reporting and Writing by Sainey MK Marenah; Additional Writing and Editing by Sam Phatey)