By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Only three days after the Government Spokesperson announced that two civilians and one Police Officer were charged for their alleged involvement in the alleged foiled coup, another eight soldiers were charged with Treason and Conspiracy to commit Felony on 6th January 2023.
Rumours of an attempted coup started to make the rounds on the night of Tuesday 20th December 2022 and in response, Government Spokesperson Ebrima G Sankareh released numerous press releases updating the public. In addition, the newly appointed National Security Advisor held a press briefing with the media on Thursday 29th December 2022.
President Barrow Calls Attempted Coup “Regrettable”
After almost two weeks following the alleged foiled coup, President Adama Barrow finally broke his silence after declining to speak on the issue during his Christmas Address to the Nation. During his New Year speech, President Barrow labelled the incident regrettable and recalled the Gambia’s twenty-two-year experience under former President Yahya Jammeh after the 1994 coup which overthrew the First President, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
In his New Year speech, President Barrow said: “It is regrettable that a handful of soldiers recently planned to overthrow the democratically elected government of the day. The devastating consequences of illegally overthrowing a constitutionally elected government can never justify the means employed, nor the ill-advised purposes for such deadly crimes”.
Echoing the ECOWAS stance against coups in West Africa and recalling the Gambia’s history with coups President Barrow highlighted that “Gambians have lived through a military regime, and they know how military takeovers have destabilised, disunited and isolated countries within the sub-region that struggle to live with them”.
Eleven Persons Charged in Connection with Attempted Coup
The Government Spokesperson first announced the arrest of two citizens and one Police Officer on 3rd January 2023. The press release revealed that the Citizens who have been charged are; “Mr Mustapha Jabbi, a resident of Brikama and Mr Saikuba Jabbi, a resident of Brusubi, both in the West Coast Region”. In addition, “a Police Officer, Sub Inspector Fakebba Jawara of The Gambia Police Force assigned to Abuko Police Station” has also been charged for his involvement in the alleged foiled coup.
The statement details that all three “suspects were arrested on Friday, 30th December 2022 and arraigned before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court [on] Tuesday, 3rd January 2023 and charged with concealment of treason and conspiracy to commit a felony. All three (3) are now remanded at the Mile II State Central Prisons”.
The latest press release issued on the alleged failed coup details the names and charges of the Soldiers charged with Treason. The Government statements list the names of those charged as “Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera [alleged coup leader], Petty Officer Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sanno, Captain Ebrima Baldeh, Second Lieutenant Omar M. Colly, Corporal Bakary Njie, Corporal Bara Touray and Warrant Officer Class Two (2) Lamin Jadama who is at large”.
All eight soldiers were charged with “conspiracy to commit felony contrary to Section 368 of the Criminal Code CAP 10: 01 Volume III Revised Laws of The Gambia 2009” and “treason contrary to Section 35 (1) (A) of the Criminal Code CAP 10: 01 Volume III Revised Laws of The Gambia 2009”.
Many have questioned the veracity of the attempted coup’s occurrence given that the alleged coup leader has been identified as Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera who has not attained Officer Rank in the Gambian Military. Many continue to question Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera’s experience and rank to command troops and his level of access to weapons to be able to affect a coup.