ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union will cease to recognise Gambia's Yahya Jammeh as the West African nation's legitimate president as of Jan. 19, the date he is due to hand power to the winner of a December election, the AU's Peace and Security Council said.

In a statement issued after a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, the council also warned of "serious consequences in the event that his action causes any crisis that could lead to political disorder, humanitarian and human rights disaster, including loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties".

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Edmund Blair and Kevin Liffey)