Africa

Gambia leader's rejection of defeat 'null and void,' AU says

  • On the west coast of Africa, Gambia is surrounded on three sides by Senegal.

    On the west coast of Africa, Gambia is surrounded on three sides by Senegal.  (The Associated Press)

  • Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow, left, speaks to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Gambia's President-elect said Saturday that the outgoing leader who now rejects his defeat has no constitutional authority to call for another election, and he called on President Yahya Jammeh to help with a smooth transition in the interest of the tiny West African country. (AP Photo/Dawda Bayo)

    Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow, left, speaks to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Gambia's President-elect said Saturday that the outgoing leader who now rejects his defeat has no constitutional authority to call for another election, and he called on President Yahya Jammeh to help with a smooth transition in the interest of the tiny West African country. (AP Photo/Dawda Bayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters gather outside Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow's home before he spoke to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Gambia's president-elect said Saturday that the outgoing leader who now rejects his defeat has no constitutional authority to call for another election, and he called on President Yahya Jammeh to help with a smooth transition in the interest of the tiny West African country. (AP Photo/Dawda Bayo)

    Supporters gather outside Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow's home before he spoke to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Gambia's president-elect said Saturday that the outgoing leader who now rejects his defeat has no constitutional authority to call for another election, and he called on President Yahya Jammeh to help with a smooth transition in the interest of the tiny West African country. (AP Photo/Dawda Bayo)  (The Associated Press)

The African Union is calling the sudden rejection by Gambia's longtime leader of his election defeat "null and void" as the tiny West African nation is urged to remain calm.

President Yahya Jammeh late Friday announced that he no longer accepts defeat in the presidential election, a week after he jovially conceded to his rival Adama Barrow.

Jammeh said investigations since the Dec. 1 vote revealed a number of voting irregularities.

The AU statement stresses the urgent need for a peaceful transfer of power and calls on security forces to remain neutral.

Mai Ahmad Fatty of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress, one of eight parties that backed Barrow, says the coalition has the will of the people on its side.

Jammeh's 22-year rule has been accused of human rights abuses.