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2 Military Officers Nabbed in Gambia Coup Plot

FILE - Soldiers check a motorcyclist at the entrance of the State House compound in Banjul, Gambia, Jan. 24, 2017.
FILE - Soldiers check a motorcyclist at the entrance of the State House compound in Banjul, Gambia, Jan. 24, 2017.

Two Gambian military officers linked to last week's alleged coup plot have been arrested over the weekend, the government's spokesperson said Monday.

The government said last week that a group of soldiers had been arrested as they attempted a coup against President Adama Barrow in the West African nation of 2.5 million people.

"Two more soldiers linked to the alleged foiled coup plot were arrested over the weekend and are helping investigators unearth allegations of plans to overthrow the Government," government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh said in a statement.

He said a second-lieutenant of the Gambian infantry and a captain from the military intelligence and security unit were arrested on Saturday and Sunday respectively, noting that the search for other alleged plotters was underway.

Seven people including two officers and five soldiers have so far been arrested in connection with the alleged plot which has been condemned by the African Union and the regional Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS).

The region has seen six successful military coups and violent attempted coups since 2020, thus raising concerns over the decline of democracy in a region.

Gambian political analyst Sait Matty Jaw told VOA that although people are worried about their economic situation, they do not support military involvement in the country's political affairs.

"There are so many other issues people are worried about, but we also know that the majority of Gambians are anti-coup based on survey data. This has been part of the conversation," he said.

Ikemesit Effiong, a Nigerian-based geopolitical analyst told VOA that corruption, economic mismanagement and misuse of power on the continent are to blame for some military power grabs or takeovers.

"If you look at the age profile of a lot of coup plotters in places like Mali, Guinea Bissau, in Burkina Faso right across the region, they are relatively young people and for many of them, democracy has not delivered, they are channeling this popular frustration with a democratic ruling in the region into violence military takeovers," Effiong said.

VOA's Mohammed Yusuf contributed to this report.