Four sentenced in USA for role in December 30 attack

Cherno Njie, Alagie Barrow, Papa Faal and Banka Manneh were yesterday 12 May 2016 sentenced to various terms of Cherno Njie Alhagie Barrow Papa Faal Banka Mannehimprisonment by the Saint Paul Federal District Court, Minesota.

They were sentenced for their roles in  planning and executing an unsuccessful coup attempt to overthrow the government of The Gambia on December 30, 2014. They were convicted on their plea of guilty.

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, the coup plotting began in at least 2013 when members of the conspiracy participated in meetings and discussions with other individuals about changing the leadership in The Gambia. As these discussions progressed, the co-defendants and other co-conspirators decided to attempt to change the regime in The Gambia through a coup. Defendants NJIE, MANNEH and BARROW led the effort to research, plan, supply, and execute the coup.

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, throughout the planning of the coup, the defendants participated in regular discussion by phone, email, or face-to-face at NJIE’s residence in Texas. The defendants engaged in military planning for the coup, which included an operations plan that identified the equipment and other logistical support needed for the coup. The defendants also engaged in political planning for The Gambia after the coup, which they expected would result in NJIE becoming the interim leader of The Gambia.

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, NJIE provided money for FAAL, MANNEH and BARROW to purchase firearms, all in furtherance of the coup. NJIE himself bought two expensive sniper rifles in Texas. NJIE also paid for the travel of his co-defendants to Texas for planning meetings and to Senegal to conduct the coup in The Gambia.

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, on the night of the attempted coup, they found that their target, the State House in Banjul, The Gambia, had been fortified with extra soldiers. The co-conspirators took heavy fire from the guard towers and suffered casualties. After their plan failed, the co-defendants fled The Gambia to Senegal before ultimately returning to the United States.

This investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its partners on Joint Terrorism Task Forces in multiple FBI field offices.

SENTENCING

CHERNO NJIE, 58 yrs
Lakeway, Tex.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, 1 count

Sentenced:
• One year and one day in prison

ALAGIE BARROW, 43 yrs
Lavergne, Tenn.

Convicted:
• Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act, 1 count
• Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, 1 count

Sentenced:
• Six months in prison

BANKE MANNEH, 43 yrs
Jonesboro, Ga.

Convicted:
• Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act, 1 count
• Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, 1 count

Sentenced:
• Six months in prison

PAPA FAAL, 47 yrs
Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Convicted:
• Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act, 1 count
• Conspiracy to Smuggle Firearms in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, 1 count

Sentenced:
• Time served

 According to US government press release, “Regardless of the legitimacy of their personal and emotional connections to The Gambia, these men placed countless innocents in harm’s way when they engaged in a brazen and fatally flawed attempt at regime change. They violated U.S. laws that exist to protect the foreign policy of our country and all Americans both at home and abroad. While I respect the right of any person to voice opposition to a government or its policies, this case is a good example of how not to do so.”