BAMAKO West Africa's regional bloc has put standby forces "on alert" in case Gambian president Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on Jan. 19, president of the ECOWAS commission Marcel de Souza said late on Thursday.
Jammeh has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow. ECOWAS has previously warned him that it would take "all necessary actions" to resolve the impasse.
Regional leaders are offering Jammeh an "honourable exit" but if he does not take it then forces could be deployed, De Souza said on Malian state television during a visit to Bamako.
(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alison Williams)