By Yankuba Jallow & Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)
Dr Abubacarr Jeng, the National Security Adviser of the Gambia has 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.
He said the investigators have in their hands the operational plan of the alleged plot detailing the outline of the failed plot. He explained that the operational plan shows the composition of the formations that were to participate, the required deployment strength, tasking and positioning to forcefully takeover the State House and prevent any intervention. He stated that the naval base in Banjul was identified to be the launching platform with accomplices from the State Guard, Fajara Barracks and other battalions across the country. He further explained that the plan shows other key locations to be taken over and occupied which included the Denton Bridge, the Bund Road in Banjul, Arch 22and installations such as NAWEC Power Station at Kotu, Radio Stations, the Abuko Earth Station, the Airport and to seal off the ECOMIG troops. Jeng said the coup plotters intended to use media propaganda to promote their takeover, arrest cabinet ministers and senior government officials to use them as hostages to prevent any foreign intervention. He added that the coup plotters also planned to retire all senior military officers from the rank of Major and above and restructure the Gambia Armed Forces.
“This brief so far insight into the plan and intentions of the alleged plotters which could have had far reaching national security, peace and development implications but for the timely intervention of the State in unearthing the alleged coup plot,” he said.
He stated that the Government set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the alleged coup plot. He said the JIT comprises members of the Gambia Armed Forces, the Gambia Police Force, the National Intelligence Agency and the Ministry of Justice. He stated that the members took their oath of secrecy administered by the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary on the 27th December 2022. He indicated that the investigations began on the 27th December 2022 and they have up to 30 days to investigate, prepare and submit their report to the Government. He stated that the public will be informed about the outcome and the next steps the Government will be taking.