A former speaker of the Gambia’s National Assembly has appealed to President Yahya Jammeh to hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow.

Honourable Aja Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay said it would be in the supreme interest of Gambians, the Gambia and the sub-region – and for the preservation of Jammeh’s legacy – if he worked with colleagues in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other stakeholders to agree on a peaceful, dignified and amicable exit in a manner befitting a head of state, the Jollofnews Website reported on Monday.

Jammeh refused to step down after losing the December 1 presidential elections to Barrow. The former president came to power in a 1994 coup.

Meanwhile, security forces shut down two private radio stations on Monday as the crisis over Jammeh’s refusal to step down continued to escalate.

The closure of Teranga FM and Hilltop Radio was a “slap in the face” for democracy, said Emil Touray, the head of The Gambia Press Union.

Four National Intelligence Agency operatives and a police officer visited the offices of Teranga FM to demand its closure, a staff member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

This is the first time the media has been targeted in a crackdown since the presidential elections following which Jammeh initially conceded defeat to property developer Barrow.

However, shortly afterwards Jammeh launched court action to annul the presidential results, alleging they were marred by irregularities despite the electoral commission saying they were free and fair.

There has been no official comment from the government.

The Gambia ranked 145 out of 180 countries in media campaign group Reporters Without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

– By ANA