Coup Suspect Alagie Barrow arrested in USA

WASHINGTON—Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P.Carlin and Alagie BarrowU.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota
announced today a criminal complaint charging Alagie Barrow, 41, for
his role in a recent attempted coup in The Gambia. Barrow is charged
with conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act by making an expeditionagainst a friendly nation from the United States and conspiracy to
possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
On Dec. 30, 2014, there was an unsuccessful attempted coup against the
government of The Gambia. The Gambia is a country in West Africa
bordered by Senegal and the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the criminal complaint, in December 2014, Barrow traveled
from the United States to The Gambia for the purpose of overthrowing
the Gambian government. Barrow is a dual U.S./Gambian citizen and a
resident of Tennessee. A separately charged co-conspirator, Cherno
Njie, a U.S. citizen of Gambian descent and a resident of Texas, is a
businessman who served as a financier and a leader of the conspiracy.
Had the coup attempt succeeded, Njie and his co-conspirators expected
that Njie would have served as the interim leader of the Gambia had
the coup attempt succeeded.
According to the criminal complaint, before departing the United
States for The Gambia, Barrow participated in conference calls to
discuss the operational plan of the coup. Barrow and two others were
the primary authors of the operational plan. Prior to departing for
The Gambia, the members of the conspiracy purchased multiple firearms,
including M4 semi-automatic rifles, and shipped them to The Gambia for
use in the coup attempt. Members of the conspiracy also acquired
night-vision goggles, body armor, ammunition, black military style
uniform pants, boots, and other personal equipment.
According to the criminal complaint, Barrow traveled to The Gambia as
part of the “advance party.” Barrow assisted other members of the
group when they arrived in The Gambia and was responsible for
delivering them to safe houses. Barrow also conducted reconnaissance
of the group’s target, the State House.
According to the criminal complaint, on Dec. 30, 2014, a number of the
co-conspirators met in the woods near the State House in Banjul, which
is the home of the Gambian President, and split into two assault
teams. Barrow was not present at that meeting, and waited with Njie in
a safe place until the assault teams took control of the facility.
Barrow was supposed to escort Njie to the State House and elsewhere
after the coup.
According to the criminal complaint, when one of the assault teams
approached the State House and fired a shot into the air, the team
began taking heavy fire from the guard towers. Numerous conspirators
on the assault teams were killed or injured during the failed attempt
to take control of the government building. Both Barrow and Njie have
since returned to the U.S. and been arrested.
This investigation is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
and its partners on Joint Terrorism Task Forces in multiple field
offices. Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorney Luger
thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors in multiple offices
who are responsible for this ongoing investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Kovats and John Marti of the District
of Minnesota are prosecuting this case, with assistance from Richard
Scott, a Deputy Chief in the Counterespionage Section of the Justice
Department’s National Security Division. A number of other U.S.
Attorney’s Offices, including those in the Middle District of
Tennessee, District of Maryland and the Western District of Texas
provided critical support during the investigation.
U.S. Department of Justice January 30, 2015.