THE STATE HOUSE ATTACK AND GOV’T REACTION

By Suwaibou Touray in Greater Banjul Area – 2pm, 30 Dec, 2914         

The capital of the West African state of the Gambia bordering Senegal has beeState Housen attacked by armed men at about 2am this morning December 30th.

Civil servants who usually go to Banjul early in the morning were stopped en route to Banjul. Banjul is a small island cut off from mainland Gambia, with a population of about only forty thousand inhabitants.

I tried to see if I could go to the Capital Banjul at about 7am this morning but the transport I boarded in was turned back.

By 9am when workers commenced work, I discovered that Banks, schools, offices and other institutions were not operating.  Observation has also shown that there were some people standing at the airport gate but a truck carrying many people was seen to park off the road and passengers were seen disembarking. Commercial vehicles outside Banjul were however operating and people were going about their business as usual despite the skepticism. The state owned radio (Radio Gambia) went off air and there was no official reaction to the events so far, and no indication that they were seized or not.

By about 9:30am, a resident in Banjul in a telephone conversation, said they heard the sound of gun shots at about 3am. He also said they were told by soldiers to go home and leave the streets.

As it stands up to half past one in the afternoon, there was no proclamation of coup and there was no official information refuting it as well.

However, the BBC in its 1pm news broadcast read out the following statement purportedly issued by President Jammeh:

“My fellow Gambians:

At 1 o’clock this morning, forces loyal to Lamin Sanneh, the disgraced former Commanding Officer of the State Guards, invaded The Gambia from Senegal in an attempt to overthrow its legitimate government. A group of armed men attacked the presidential palace and the Denton bridge military post before being quickly repelled.

Four of the insurgents were killed and four more captured. Sanneh himself sustained injuries and may have died in the attack.

No Gambian feels the aguish of this heinous plot more deeply than I, against whom Sanneh adds the sin of betraying a friend to the ignominy of high treason.

Rest assured that the Enemies of the People have been defeated, and I will be returning from my state visit to France immediately in order to oversee an investigation and ensure that the perpetrators of this plot face stern justice,”.

By 1pm in the afternoon, the Radio Gambia news broadcast informed listeners that there were rumours spreading but assured that everything is calm and people can go about their business as usual.

The Gambian president was said to have visited Qatar and France but up to going to press he had not returned to Banjul?