Relatives say Gambia's election chief has fled the country because of threats made after he declared longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh had lost last month's presidential election.

Family members told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Independent Electoral Commission chairman Alieu Momarr Njai has gone to Senegal, as the political standoff deepens between Jammeh and President-elect Adama Barrow.

Jammeh initially accepted defeat after more than 22 years in power, only to change his mind a week later and refuse to leave. Jammeh says voting irregularities affected the outcome, and his party is challenging the results in court.

Meanwhile, Barrow says he is planning a Jan. 19 inauguration.

Critics say thousands of Gambians have fled persecution abroad during Jammeh's rule, and an untold number of political dissidents have been jailed and killed.