Europe

Tourists to be evacuated from Gambia as crisis deepens

  • Tourists check out of their hotel before being taken to Banjul Airport, in Gambia, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Special flights were being organized Wednesday to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed as President Yahya Jammeh's mandate expires on Thursday after he lost elections in December. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency before he is supposed to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow. (AP Photo)

    Tourists check out of their hotel before being taken to Banjul Airport, in Gambia, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Special flights were being organized Wednesday to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed as President Yahya Jammeh's mandate expires on Thursday after he lost elections in December. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency before he is supposed to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tourists gather at the airport in Banjul as tour operators send in extra flights to evacuate them Wednesday Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. As the political crisis deepened, special flights were being organized to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed to force Jammeh to step down. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

    Tourists gather at the airport in Banjul as tour operators send in extra flights to evacuate them Wednesday Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. As the political crisis deepened, special flights were being organized to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed to force Jammeh to step down. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)  (The Associated Press)

  • British tourists check in at Banjul Airport, Gambia, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Special flights were being organized Wednesday to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed as President Yahya Jammeh's mandate expires on Thursday after he lost elections in December. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency before he is supposed to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow.  (AP Photo)

    British tourists check in at Banjul Airport, Gambia, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Special flights were being organized Wednesday to evacuate British and other tourists from Gambia, where the threat of a regional military intervention loomed as President Yahya Jammeh's mandate expires on Thursday after he lost elections in December. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency before he is supposed to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Special flights are being organized to evacuate British tourists from Gambia where the threat of a military intervention looms.

Incumbent leader Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency Tuesday, just two days before he is supposed to step aside after losing the December presidential election.

Jammeh refuses, citing voting irregularities, and the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS has threatened to force him out.

Travel group Thomas Cook says it plans to bring home nearly 1,000 vacationers, and four more flights were being added for Wednesday.

The evacuation is not mandatory, but offers those who want to leave the option. Many tourists here seemed unaware and continued to enjoy lying on the beach.

The state of emergency bans people from "any acts of disobedience" or violence.