2015 IN BRIEF

We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in 2015. We now summarise the stories detentionPapa Faalrelating to the December 30 insurrection.

30 DECEMBER ATTACK ON STATE HOUSE

On 30 December 2014, between the hours of 2am and 4am, sporadic heavy gunfire kept Banjulians awake and when daylight came they found soldiers patrolling the streets of Banjul. Apart from a statement asking people to remain calm without stating what had happened, there has been no official statement on the incident on that day.

In an interview with the Gambian president by GRTS’s Kebba Dibba on 31 December 2015 at State House in Banjul President Jammeh said contrary to media reports, the attack on State House in Banjul was not a coup attempt against his government, it was an attack by dissidents based in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The Gambian president exonerated the Gambia Armed Forces and described them as very loyal. He said as far as they are concerned there isn’t any single officer involved in the attack; that it cannot be called a military coup attempt. He added that these were soldiers who were dismissed from the army. President Jammeh alleged that all the weapons used or some of the materials used were made in the US. He emphasised again and again that it was not a coup attempt because a single Gambian soldier got involved in the attack.

The US Department of State has however issued a short statement condemning the 30 December 2014 armed attack on State House.

Three of the leaders are confirmed dead, namely, Ex Lt Colonel Lamin Sanneh, Njagga Jagne and Alhaji Nyass.

Escaped armed attackers flee to Guinea-Bissau?

A news agency (AFP) reports that four officers suspected of participating in an armed attack on Banjul on 30 December have taken refuge in Guinea-Bissau. The reporter indicated that he obtained the information from a military source in Guinea-Bissau yesterday (Thursday). They “arrived Wednesday evening in Bissau and turned themselves in to the (military) authorities,” the source in Bissau told AFP. “The source did not explain how the fugitives had reached Guinea-Bissau.

Gambian Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Cherno Njie, 8 others

The High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Simeon A. Abi, has on April 8, 2015 issued arrest warrants for Cherno Njie and eight others who were all charged with multiple counts of treason, concealment of treason and offences relating to mutiny and aiding and abetting mutiny.Cherno M. Njie

Six Court Martial Convicts File Appeal 

Though the president had said no member of the armed forces was involved in the December 30 insurrection, six military personnel were convicted by a Court Martial on 30 March 2015 and four of them were sentenced to death and/ or life imprisonment.

Four of the military personnel who were convicted and sentenced to death and / or life imprisonment appealed to the Banjul High court on 10th June, 2015, but the court struck out the appeal.

Justice Abi ruled that the appeal should have been filed at the Gambia Court of Appeal and not the Banjul High Court.

The appellants namely Private Modou Njie, Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju, Lieutenant Amadou Sowe, Lieutenant Buba Sanneh, were appealing against their conviction by the court martial.

 

 

Corpses of alleged insurgents placed under guard but later removed

The corpses linked to the 30 December 2014 insurgency were initially kept at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) mortuary in Banjul for months even after several unsuccessful appeals from some concerned families for them to be handed over for burial.

2015 the GAF Public Relation Officer in an interview on Thursday, 4 June, when asked why the corpses are still held under military guard, Lieutenant Malick Sanyang, the spokesperson of GAF, said “What I know and can confirm is that some of those who attacked state house got killed but I don’t know whether the corpses are held at the mortuary.”

Foroyaa later received information that the corpses were removed but neither the hospital authorities nor the armed forces would comment on this. Nonetheless the guards were no longer seen since Foroyaa received this report.

 The corpse of Gosso, who was reported to have died during the attack on state house in Banjul on 30 DecemBakary Bojang, alias “Gosso”ber, 2014, was finally released to the family by the authorities for burial.

His corpse had been kept at the mortuary of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul for more than five months under armed guard.


Gambians in the US charged for their alleged role in an attempted coup in The Gambia

In a press release from the US Department of States for Justice issued on Monday January 5, 2015, two Defendants were charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Neutrality Act and Conspiracy to Possess Firearms in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence in the United States of America. They are Cherno Njie, 57, and Papa Faal, 46, for their role in a recent attempted coup in The Gambia.

Papa Faal who is a former US army sergeant pleaded guilty of involving in a failed coup attempt in the Gambia in December 2014.

On Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 in a Federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, Banka Manneh was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony in connection to the 30 December State House Attack in Banjul.

He was 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 violence.”