Failed coup attempt by presidential guards in The Gambia today Dec. 30th

December 30, 2014 4:21 pm

There was a failed coup attempt by presidential guards in The Gambia
today Dec. 30th. According to reports, some presidential guards stormed
the presidential palace in Banjul, the country’s capital and shot
sporadically in the air. The whereabouts of Gambia’s president, Yahya
Jammeh is said to be unknown but many believe he is in Paris or Dubai.
An army source who spoke to AFP said the attackers had been completely
warded off and the situation has been brought under control.

Gunfire erupted around the presidential palace in Gambia’s
capital Banjul overnight and soldiers blocked the bridge leading to the
center of the coastal city amid media reports of an attempted coup.

Forces loyal to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh,
who came to power in a 1994 coup when he was 29 years old, killed three
alleged suspects behind the failed coup bid on Tuesday, a military
officer said. During his campaign for the last election in 2011, Jammeh
vowed that only God, not a vote or coup, could shake his grip on power.

A diplomat said unknown gunmen had attacked the State House during
the night but shooting had died down later. Local diplomats and media
said Jammeh was in France when the violence broke out.

Banks and other offices in the capital and surrounding neighborhoods
remained closed and residents locked themselves indoors. State radio
played traditional kora music and remained silent on the incident.

“Contrary to rumors being circulated, peace and calm continue to
prevail in Gambia,” read a statement signed by Lakidu Bayo, the
secretary-general and head of the civil service.

A French foreign ministry spokesman said Jammeh was not on an
official visit in Paris and diplomatic sources said there was no
indication that he was in France on a private visit either.

There was no official confirmation of reports of an attempted coup,
but a senior West African diplomat told Reuters that mutineers were in
control of some strategic pockets of the capital on Tuesday afternoon.

Jammeh, 49, has stifled dissent in the tiny West African nation and faced global condemnation over the country’s human rights record, in part because of a law that introduced “aggravated homosexuality” as a crime punishable in some cases with life in prison.

In recent years, he has frequently reshuffled senior military and
civilian officials, a policy that has prevented potential rivals from
accruing power but has stoked instability.

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