Gambia’s longtime leader Yahya Jammeh has asked the West African bloc ECOWAS for an extension of a midday deadline for him to leave power until 4 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), government sources told Reuters Friday.

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the Gambian capital Banjul on Friday for last-minute talks with Jammeh, sources said.

Chairman of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza had earlier said that if Jammeh fails to surrender by midday of Friday, 20 January, the military will intervene with full force.

It is now unclear whether Jammeh intended to step down.

MR. Yahaya Jammeh