(JollofNews) – The head of the Gambian army has used his New Year message to pledged his loyalty and unflinching support to President Yahya Jammeh as the political impasse continues.

Lieutenant General Ousman Bargie, Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambian Armed Forces, said he and other head of security forces in the country are strongly behind President Jammeh.

Mr Jammeh is refusing to handover power after losing last month’s elections to opposition candidate Adama Barrow.

He has vowed to defend the sovereignty of the  Gambia should regional leaders go ahead with threats to send a Senegal led military force to flush him out of power.

But as the deadline nears, the army boss praised Mr Jammeh’s personal commitment and 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’.

“On behalf of the service chiefs, officers and other ranks of the entire members of the Gambia Armed Forces and their families and indeed on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, to wish you a joyous season of celebration of the New Year,” Lieutenant General Bargie wrote.

“May I please seize this opportunity to also renew to Your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces to Your Excellency, the Government and people of the Gambia.”

Jammeh has used the army to strenthen his grip on power

The army chief who had earlier pledged his support to Adama Barrow, who was declared winner of the election by the country’s electoral commission added: “In the same vein, 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.

“May Allah continue to bless, guide and protect Your Excellency, family, the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia at all times.”