US charges two over Gambia ‘coup plot’

By The Citizen

Two men have been charged in the US with attempting to overthrow The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, the justice department has said.

The defendants, who are of Gambian origin, are accused of conspiring against a friendly nation and conspiring to possess firearms.

Gambian authorities said they had thwarted a coup attempt on 30 December.

Mr Jammeh seized power in the tiny West African nation in 1994 and has been accused of authoritarianism.

He was abroad when gunfire broke out near the presidential palace in the capital, Banjul, on 30 December.

The president later returned home and accused dissidents based in the US, UK and Germany of being behind the attack.

Between 10 and 12 people had entered The Gambia to overthrow Mr Jammeh, “with the expectation that others in the country would join and assist them”, the US justice department said in a statement.

They included US citizen Cherno Njie, 57, and US-Gambian dual national Papa Faal, 46, it said.

“These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of US law,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“The United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions.” BBC