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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

UN, AU condemn ‘coup’ attempt

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Chad’s UN ambassador Mahamat Zene, the current council president, told reporters after a closed-door briefing by UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman that members “welcomed the normalisation of the situation in the country.”

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The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also reiterated his organisation’s “principled condemnation of all attempts to seize power through unconstitutional means,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Meanwhile, the African Union commission chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, also voiced her “preoccupation” and called for calm while stressing the need to deepen “democracy and the respect for human rights”.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative and head of the UN office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, is expected to arrive in The Gambia soon on a fact-finding mission.

“As an organisation whose primary objective is the maintenance of peace and security, the UN does not condone attempts to upset constitutional order,” said Mr Chambas in a news release prior to his visit to the country. “I urge the Gambian authorities, particularly security and defence forces, to ensure that the investigations are conducted in full respect of human rights and regular legal process.”

The Ghanaian-born Chambas is expected to hold talks with Gambia Government officials, and report back to the UN Security Council on his findings. 

‘Coup’ claims quashed

Meanwhile, President Jammeh who spoke on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents dismissed claims of a coup d’état but instead alleged that a group of disgruntled Gambian dissidents backed by some powers had staged a ‘terrorist attack’ on the country. 

He told the journalists: “Well it was not a coup; it was a lie that it was a coup. It was an attack by dissidents based in the US, Germany and UK. You will realise that some of these materials they have are US-made, and of course also, we have a comprehensive understanding of what they have been planning. They had literature and this was the final stage of their plan. They had stage one, stage two and the final phase was the attack. What is interesting is the fact that we were able to get all that they had in their computer. We were able to download it and the information that I will release tomorrow [Thursday] is very startling.

“The Gambia Armed Forces are very loyal and as far as we are concerned, there wasn’t any single participation of the armed forces except in nullifying the attack. So it cannot be called a military coup because I have seen some media houses saying that there was coup. This wasn’t a coup; this was an attack by a terrorist group backed by some powers that I will not name for now. Yes it was an attack and they thought by attacking State House and getting it, the armed forces will join them because they said the armed forces are disgruntled which is a big lie. They also said that the Gambian people are disgruntled and that as soon as they attack and takeover the State House, Gambians will flock in their thousands to join them. This is why they have these types of weapons. So it cannot be called a coup because a coup has to come out from regular armed forces. Of course, these are soldiers who were dismissed because they were very close to a particular embassy here and one of them was the former State Guard commander. He thought that because he was here before, he knew everything about this place. Let me tell you one thing, no force can take this place; no human force except Almighty Allah.”

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