Gambia President Yahyah Jammeh has given his first public reaction to ECOWAS leaders’ request for him to respect the result of the 1 December polls, assuring they would attend the inauguration on 19 January.

Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone are understood to have warned Mr Jammeh that if he does not step down immediately, he will face tough measures including sanctions.

Addressing members of the Africa Bar Association, the president said the action of the West African leaders amounted to a violation of the ECOWAS charter itself which talks about noninterference in the internal affairs of member states. He said the regional leaders had asked him to leave the country. “Who are they to tell me to leave my country” he thundered.