Ecowas warned on Thursday night that it would resume its military advance on Friday if Jammeh refused to cede power.
Marcel de Souza, head of the Ecowas commission, told reporters that it was out of the question that Jammeh would be allowed to remain in the Gambia, although Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow had previously given the former ruler chances to step aside and stay in the country.
ECOMIG troops from West African nations were poised to oust the longstanding ruler who lost last month’s presidential polls.
Gambia’s opposition coalition turned ruling alliance hopes Jammeh ends the defiance after Barrow’s recognition by the international community.
Botswana said it is no longer recognizing Mr. Jammeh as president and the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution backing Mr. Barrow.
Jammeh had declared a state of emergency after the Supreme Court nailed two of his elections in the coffin.
Mr. Jammeh’s legal challenge to have the vote annulled cannot be heard by the Supreme Court until May because of a lack of judges, so parliament has stepped in and extended his term in office by 90 days and imposed a three-month state of emergency.
Still, the international community is applying pressure. The African Union has said that it would stop recognizing Jammeh as the president of the Gambia.
Botswana has announced that it no longer recognizes Jammeh as Gambia’s president. China, which recently reestablished ties with the country, called for “cool-headedness” and for all parties to “attach importance to the interests of the people and country.”
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting from The Guardian, Aljazeera and Quartz)