By Louise Jobe
A trial magistrate in Banjul on Tuesday, 3rd January remanded two civilians and one police officer in connection to the foiled coup attempt.
Mustapha Jabbi, Sub Inspector Fakebba Jawara (police officer) and Saikuba Jabbi all Gambians were arraigned before Principal Magistrate Muhammed Krubally in Banjul. The three are charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and concealment of treason. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court granted them bail on count one which is a bailable offence but denied them bail on count two, which is non-bailable.
The punishment for conspiracy to commit a felony is seven (7) years while concealment to treason attracts life imprisonment. The three will remain in remand pending their appearance before the high court.
According to the particulars of the offence (conspiracy to commit felony), the three accused persons in the months of October and December 2022 conspired among themselves and failed to dispatch the information to overthrow a democratically elected Government.
On the second charge, which is concealment to treason, the three in the same months and year were informed by Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera to overthrow the democratically elected Government of President Adama Barrow which they failed to dispatch the information to a Minister, Magistrate, a Police Officer or a member of the Armed Forces.
Dr Abubacarr Jeng, the National Security Adviser of the Gambia on Thursday, 29th December said the Gambia Government is investigating the alleged civilian involvement in the alleged foiled coup.
Dr Jeng said it had been established that the alleged coup plotters made contacts and had clandestine meetings in some places identified within the country, as they were planning the unearthed coup plot. Jeng said there are reports pointing to the suspected involvement of sponsors for the coup plot from civilian collaborators both within and outside the country.
“The investigations are seriously looking into this angle,” he said.
The alleged coup plotters, so far arrested, are all members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF).
The Gambia Government last week (20th December) announced a foiled coup plot by some soldiers which led to the initial arrest of four soldiers. All of them are non-commissioned officers – meaning they are all junior soldiers. The arrestees were Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera of the Gambia Navy – the alleged ring leader, Corporal Mbarra Touray of the First Infantry Battalion, Corporal Ebrahima Sanno of the Gambia Navy and Sergeant Gibril Darboe of the Gambia Navy. On 22nd December the Government Spokesperson announced the arrest of Corporal Baboucarr Njie alias Njie B from the State Guards Battalion. The Government announced additional two arrests on 26th December and this time, both arrestees were officers. Second Lieutenant Omar Colley of the First Infantry Battalion was arrested on the 24th December 2022 while Captain Ebrima Baldeh of the Military Intelligence at the Defence Headquarters was arrested the following day. This brings the total number of soldiers arrested to seven.
According to a statement of the Government Spokesperson issued yesterday, the three accused were arrested on Friday 30th December, 2022.