GOV’T HINTS AT CIVILIAN INVOLVEMENT IN ‘COUP’

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia government has yesterday revealed that it suspects the involvement of sponsors for the alleged coup plot from civilian collaborators both within and outside the country. 

Addressing journalists yesterday at Army Headquarters on the situational update, current security situation and the actions taken by the government regarding the alleged botched coup attempt, the new National Security Adviser, Abubakarr Suleiman Jeng, said the investigations are seriously looking into suspected involvement of sponsors for the alleged coup plot from civilian collaborators.

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“It has also been established that the alleged coup plotters made contacts and held clandestine meetings in some places identified within the country, as they were planning the coup.

In addition, an Operational Plan of the alleged plot detailing the outline of the plot is already in the hands of investigators,” Jeng told journalists. 

According to Mr Jeng, the said plan shows the composition of the formations that were to participate, the required deployment strength, tasking and positioning to forcefully takeover the State House and prevent any intervention.

“The Gambia Naval Base in Banjul was identified to be the launching platform with accomplices from the State Guard, Faraja barracks, Yundum barracks, and other battalions across the country. In addition to the State House, the plan shows other key locations to be taken over and occupied which include the Denton Bridge, the Bund Road-Banjul Highway Intersection, Arch22, and installations such as Nawec Power Station at Kotu, Radio Stations, the Abuko Earth Station, the Airport and to seal off the Ecomig troops,” he added.

The coup plotters, he added, also intended to use media propaganda to promote their takeover, 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 Gambia Armed Forces. This brief so far provides insight into the plan and intentions of the alleged plotters which could have had far reaching national security, peace, and development implications but for the timely intervention of the State in unearthing the alleged coup plot,” he added.

He said the government eleven-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which draws membership from Office of National Security, GAF, Gambia Police Force and the State Intelligence Service with support from the Ministry of Justice will exhaustively, professionally and impartially investigate the alleged coup plot.

“The JIT has thirty (30) days effective 27 December 2022 to investigate, prepare and submit their report on the alleged coup plot. Following the completion of the investigations, the public will be informed accordingly of the outcome and the next cause of action.”

The media was not allowed to ask questions.

On Tuesday, 20 December, the government announced it had foiled a coup plot, which led to the immediate arrest of five members of the Gambia Armed Forces linked to the reported coup plot. The arrested soldiers include; Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera – Gambia Navy, the alleged ringleader, Corporal Mbarra Touray – First infantry Battalion, Corporal Ebrahima Sanno – Gambia Armed Forces Military Police, Sergeant Gibril Darboe – Gambia Navy, and Corporal Bakary Njie alias Njie B of the State Guard while additionally, two Gambia Armed Forces Officers Second Lieutenant Omar Colley – First Infantry Battalion and Captain Ebrima Baldeh – Military Intelligence at the Defence Headquarters in Banjul were arrested on 24-25 December 2022. According to the government, there is ongoing search for more suspected accomplices.