Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Dozens arrested after failed Gambia coup

02 January 2015, 09:22

Banjul - Several dozen military personnel and civilians were arrested, and a large cache of weapons and explosives were found following a reported coup attempt in Gambia, an intelligence source said on Thursday.

The suspects have been interrogated and were being held in "four villas" in or near the tiny west African nation's capital Banjul, said a source close to Gambia's National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Gambia's strongman leader Yahya Jammeh, who was visiting Dubai at the time of the attack, blamed unidentified foreign dissidents and "terrorists" for the assault Tuesday on his presidential palace, and denied it was an attempt to unseat him.

"It is an attack by dissidents based in the US, Germany and UK," Jammeh said in a televised address Wednesday. "This was not a coup. This was an attack by a terrorist group backed by some powers that I would not name."

Jammeh insisted that the armed forces "are very loyal" and that only former soldiers, including a senior commander, had taken part in the attack on his palace.

"No force can take this place and nobody can destabilise this country," he said. "Anybody who plans to attack this country, be ready, because you are going to die."

A group of heavily armed men led by an army deserter attacked the presidential palace before dawn, but were repelled by forces loyal to Jammeh, who has ruled for 20 years since he seized power in a 1994 coup that ousted Gambia's founding leader Sir Dawda Jawara.

Investigators have allegedly seized the plan laying out the attack, in which the three suspects, including the alleged ringleader were killed, according to a military officer.

One of the alleged conspirators also led authorities to "a large quantity of very sophisticated automatic weapons and explosives," in a shipping container disguised as second-hand clothing at Banjul's port, the source close to the NIA said.

Four officers suspected of participating in the attempt had taken refuge in the neighbouring west African nation of Guinea-Bissau, a military source told AFP.

 'Failure is unforgivable'

Jammeh returned home to his palace overnight on Wednesday from Dubai where he had been on a private visit.

He claims to have foiled a succession of coup plots in the country. He has come under fire for serious human rights abuses, including repression of the media and the disappearance of rivals.

The United States said in response to the attack on the palace: "We strongly condemn any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means."

Neighbouring Senegal "strongly" condemned the apparent coup attempt, which it said was undertaken "by a group of insurgents".

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for a probe of the failed takeover and also urged the government and security forces in Banjul to "act in full respect of human rights."

A Dakar-based researcher, Gilles Yabi, warned on Wednesday of a "major risk of repression extending beyond the military figures involved in the coup attempt".

"There are fears the regime could take advantage of the situation by blaming people who had nothing to do with it."

Gambia is a popular winter sun destination for European holidaymakers, especially from Britain.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...