By Modou Nyang
Banka Manneh is the latest target in the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s (FBI) continuing probe into the events of the December 30th State House attack. Manneh, was, on Wednesday, 18th March, in a Federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, court papers reveal.He is being jointly charged with Cherno Njie and Alagie Barrow for
“Conspiracy to Make an Expedition against a friendly nation,” and
“Conspiracy to Use a firearm during and in relation to crime of
Manneh, who lives in Jonesboro, a city in the U.S. state of Georgia,
is alleged to have conspired with Njie and Barrow all residents of the
U.S., and others, to overthrow the Government of the Gambia. In a new
indictment that ties Manneh to the charges against Njie, Barrow, and
Papa Faal, a U.S. grand Jury alleges that he purchased two pistols and
a rifle “to equip coconspirators participating in the coup.”
The charge against Manneh said he participated in conference calls and
exchange of documents with his co-conspirators. “In these
communications”, the charge said, “Njie, Barrow, and Manneh and others
discussed operational and logistical planning for the attempted
overthrow of the Gambian government.” Manneh is also said to have sent
Njie a list of would be leadership positions that were to be filled
should the operation have succeeded.
“On or about May 29, 2014,” the charge outlined, “defendant Manneh
provided defendant Njie with a document identifying leadership
positions in the government of The Gambia that would be filled after
All three are standing trial for violating the U.S. neutrality Act
that forbids U.S. citizens and residents from seeking to overthrow or
use violence against countries with whom the U.S. is not at war with.
The charges carry 4 to 5 years of imprisonment or fines of up to $100,
Manneh’s arraignment has led to a dramatic shift in the FBI’s probe of
U.S. based Gambians involvement in the armed attacked. Shortly
following Faal and Njie’s arrest, Manneh was questioned by federal
agents but was not arrested. He later had to resign his position in a
Diaspora pro-democracy advocacy group for undisclosed reasons.
Following the attack on the State House on December 30th 2014, that
resulted to deaths, Faal an airman and retired sergeant in the U.S.
air force, and Njie a businessman and real estate developer who were
in the country at the time, fled back to the U.S. where they were
arrested and put on trial. Faal has since pleaded guilty to the same
charges and is awaiting sentencing. Barrow, who was the last to return
to the U.S. was also arrested and put on trial. Both Njie and Barrow
are currently on bail, they are expected back in court in May.
Manneh is the latest target of FBI’s raid, search, confiscation of
computers, arrest and preferring of charges.
By Modou Nyang