Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared a nationwide state of emergency just two days before he is set to step down from office.
President Jammeh originally conceded defeat to Adama Barrow after the December election, but later came out publicly stating that he would not step down from office.
If the president had agreed to leave office as planned, it would have marked the first peaceful transfer of power since Gambia gained independence.
Jammeh cited electoral “irregularities” that voided the election results. The head of the electoral commission maintained that Barrow had won the election.
On Sunday, Jammeh said in a televised speech that he has filed an injunction to prevent Barrow from being sworn in until the Supreme Court rules on the matter.
“Until then, the status quo remains,” Jammeh said.
The Associated Press reported that a court decision could take months. The chief justice subsequently “recused himself and said he could not rule on Jammeh’s request for an injunction blocking Barrow’s inauguration.”
Barrow is currently in neighbor country Senegal in the as international demands for Jammeh to leave office grow.
“West African leaders have not ruled out using force if Jammeh refuses to go,” NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
Several of Jammeh’s cabinet members have resigned in the midst of the political crisis, according to the AP. The BBC reported that thousands of Gambians have left the country for Senegal in fear of violence.