Accessibility links

Breaking News

Gambia Releases Three "Coup Suspects"


FILE: President of The Gambia Adama Barrow addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. taken Sept.22, 2022.
FILE: President of The Gambia Adama Barrow addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. taken Sept.22, 2022.

The Gambian government said Thursday that three soldiers charged with treason over an alleged coup attempt last month had been exonerated, though several others still face charges.

Captain Ebrima Baldeh, 2nd Lieutenant Omar M. Colly and Corporal Bakary Njie were absolved of any responsibility for the attempt and have been released from custody, the government said in a statement.

But four other soldiers and a police officer also accused of taking part in the uprising attempt faced new indictments before the High Court in Banjul.

Lance Corporal Sana Fadera, Petty Officer Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sanno, Corporal Omar Njie and Police Sub-Inspector Fakebba Jawara were charged with treason, concealment of treason, conspiracy and inciting mutiny, the statement said.

The suspects had previously been charged by the Banjul Magistrate's Court, before the case was transferred to the higher court.

The government announced on December 21 that it had foiled an attempted coup the previous day and had detained members of the security forces.

It was an alarming incident for the fragile West African democracy after 22 years of dictatorship under former president Yahya Jammeh.

Opposition politician Momodou Sabally, a former minister of presidential affairs under Jammeh, was arrested and later released.

Jammeh was defeated in a presidential election in December 2016 by political newcomer Adama Barrow and fled to Equatorial Guinea, but retains influential back home.

The attempted coup followed Barrow's re-election in December 2021 for a second five-year term.

National security adviser Abubakarr Suleiman Jeng said the plotters aimed to "arrest cabinet ministers and senior government officials to use them as hostages to prevent any foreign intervention."

"They also had plans to retire all senior military officers from the rank of major and above and restructure" the army, he told reporters in the capital, Banjul.

A fifth member of the military who is suspected of taking part in the coup attempt, Lamin Jadama of the Gambian navy, remains "at large", the government has said, adding that Interpol has issued a red notice for his arrest and extradition.

The country's Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, which was launched after Jammeh's ouster, recommended the government overhaul the security sector.

The Gambia's international partners have also urged Barrow to push ahead with reforms to strengthen the country's democracy, including an overhaul of the security services.

XS
SM
MD
LG