(JollofNews)—A Gambian civil society leader has been charged in the United States in connection with last December’s attempted coup against the Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh.
Banka Manneh, a US resident who is chairman of the Civil Society Associations Gambia, is accused of aiding and abetting in preparation of the failed coup. He is the fourth US-based Gambian to be charged in connection with the coup plot.
Mr Manneh was granted bail by Minnesota Federal Magistrate Becky Thorson of St. Paul until next Thursday when he is expected to take his plea.
On 30th December, a group of US and European-based Gambians 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, attacked the presidential palace in Banjul while Mr Jammeh was away on a private visit to Dubai.
The group said it was trying to “restore democracy to the Gambia and improve the lives of its people.” And 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 group “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.
Mr Jammeh have since vowed to come down heavily on those involved in the attack. An unknown number of civilians and soldiers have since been arrested and detained at various Gambian security installations. Human rights group said the detainees most of them relatives of the attackers are being held incommunicado and without charge and security forces have threatened to arrest anyone demanding their release or whereabouts.