Amid increasing uncertainties Gambia's incumbent President Yahya Jammeh will step down at the end of his mandate on 19 January, the country's army chief has reaffirmed his loyalty to Jammeh.

Jammeh was defeated by Adama Barrow in the 1 December election, but reversed his position on 9 December and rejected the election results.

With Jammeh vowing to stay in power despite losing the election, West African regional bloc Ecowas threatened to stage a military intervention to unseat the head of state if he refuses to leave office later this month.

On 4 January, Chief of Defense Staff Lieutenant General Ousman Badgie reaffirmed his loyalty to President Jammeh in a letter he wrote to the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper.

"May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces [GAF]," he wrote.

His letter continued: ''Please permit me to commend you for your demonstrated personal commitment to The Gambia Armed Forces which is guided by your vision of making The Gambia Armed Forces not only as one of the most developed armies but that which is second to none in the world,."

As Gambia reached a political stalemate, Ecowas leaders on 23 December said troops in neighbouring Senegal were ready to intervene. "We have put standby forces on alert if he does not [step down] on January 19 when his mandate ends," Ecowas commission president, Marcel de Souza said. "No one has the right to oppose the will of the people."

Jammeh this week threatened to use Gambia's own military apparatus to combat Ecowas' troops, saying any deployment would constitute an "act of war". Commentators have previously said that Jammeh's chances of clinging to power would be significantly reduced if the army chief switches loyalty.

There have been increasing signs that, in an attempt to stay in power, Jammeh has further muzzled the media by closing down three private radio stations this week.

On 3 January, it was reported that Gambia's electoral commission chairman, Alieu Momar Njai, fled the country following the threats he received after declaring Jammeh the loser.