Gambian soldiers seize election commission headquarters

Gambia's security forces block access to the electoral commission office as leader rejects defeat.

The Gambia’s security forces have taken over the headquarters of the electoral commission, as the country’s president refuses to accept his loss in recent elections.

Its chairman, Alieu Momar Njai says staff are barred from entering.

President Yahya Jammeh initially conceded defeat to Adama Barrow in a recent poll, before changing his mind.

The commission said Mr Barrow obtained 222,708 votes (43.3%) compared with Mr Jammeh’s 208,487 (39.6%). A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 votes (17.1%).

Mr Njai on Sunday defended the results and warned “Mr Jammeh against a legal challenge.’’

“The election results were correct, nothing will change that..If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The results are there for everyone to see,’’ he said.

The West African leaders have arrived in the country to try to persuade Mr Jammeh to step down peacefully.

The head of regional bloc Ecowas, Marcel de Souza would not rule out sending in troops.

“We have done it in the past,” he said.

“We currently have troops in Guinea-Bissau with the Ecomib mission. We have had troops in Mali. And therefore it is a possible solution,” he added.

Mr Jammeh, who has ruled the country for 22 years, has questioned the validity of the count after the electoral commission changed some results, even though it insists the outcome was not affected.

Mercy Chukwudiebere