(JollofNews) – A US based Gambian dissident who took part in last week’s bungled plot to overthrow the APRC government of President Yahya Jammeh has been refused bail by a District Court in Minneapolis.
Papa Faal, 46, of Brooklyn Center is accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of US law.
Faal, a former US Air Force personnel, who has also served in the US Army in Afghanistan, was among a group of Gambian dissidents armed with night-vision goggles, body armour and semi-automatic rifles bought at shops in the US, hidden beneath clothes and shipped in barrels to the Gambia that attacked the presidential palace in Banjul while Mr Jammeh was away on a private visit to Dubai.
Faal told the FBI that his group was trying “restore democracy to the Gambia and improve the lives of its people.”
Believing they had “up to 160 members of the local Gambian military” on their side and that the president’s guards wouldn’t risk their lives to defend him, the dissidents “hoped they would be able to take over the country without having to kill any Gambians.
But a gun battle erupted, an attempt to ram the front door using a rented vehicle failed and four members of group were killed while one was captured.
Watching four of his colleagues die, Faal took to his heel and changed into new clothes in a nearby building before taking a ferry to neighbouring Senegal the next day, where he sought out the US embassy in Dakar.
Appearing in court today, Faal’s lawyer, Andrew Mohring, asked the court to free his client while the case is pending, citing his military service, community volunteerism and support from the community.
This was however rejected by Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel, who described Faal as a flight risk with siblings in Europe and community support that could facilitate his escape.