Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh lambasts Ecowas mediators

Jammeh says he is not a coward and will seek justice following what he says was a flawed election

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has hit 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 launched a court action to annul the vote after the electoral commission changed some results - though it insists the outcome has not been affected and that Adama Barrow won by 4% of the vote.

In a 45-minute speech at the African Bar Association on Tuesday night, Mr Jammeh defended his position.

"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."

A spokesman for the opposition coalition that backed Mr Barrow has said Mr Jammeh will not face prosecution after leaving office.

"President-elect Barrow says he is going to treat outgoing President Yahya Jammeh like a former head of state and would consult him for advice," Halifa Sallah told the AFP news agency.

His security forces have seized control of the election commission's headquarters in the capital, Banjul.

Human rights groups have accused President Jammeh of committing serious abuses against opponents during his 22-year rule.

The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965.

According to the electoral commission's final count:

Mr Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%)

President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)

A third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)

Results were revised by the electoral commission on 5 December, when it emerged that the ballots for one area had been added incorrectly.