Wednesday, December 21

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Gambian president insists he is not stepping down




Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has lashed out at regional mediators urging him to step down, saying he will not be intimidated.


The West African regional bloc ECOWAS had called on him to honour his initial pledge to accept electoral defeat.

Mr Jammeh, who subsequently said the 1 December poll was flawed, added that he would defend his country if need be.

ECOWAS had said military intervention might be a possibility if diplomatic efforts failed.

Mr Jammeh has lodged a case before the Supreme Court to annul the vote after the electoral commission changed some results.

The commission insists the outcome was not affected by an initial error and property developer Adama Barrow defeated Mr Jammeh.

On Wednesday, the chief justice had to adjourn the Supreme Court hearing until 10 January, eight days before Mr Jammeh's term in office officially ends, because there were not enough judges to hear the case.

Mr Jammeh seized power in the small country of Gambia since 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses.

In a 45-minute speech at the African Bar Association on Tuesday night, Mr Jammeh defended his position, saying West African leaders had violated the ECOWAS principle of non-interference.

"Who are they to tell me to leave my country?" he said during his televised speech.

"I will not be intimidated by any power in this world. I want to make sure justice is done.

"I'm a man of peace, but I cannot also be a coward. I am a man of peace but that does not also mean that I will not defend myself and defend my country and defend my country courageously, patriotically and win."

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