Alhaji Boye

(JollofNews) – A United States federal judge in Eastern District of North Carolina, Monday sent a US-based Gambian man to prison for his involvement in the December 2014 ill-fated plot to overthrow the former Gambian regime of President Yahya Jammeh.

Alhaji Boye, 46, of Raleigh, North Carolina was given a nine-month jail term followed by 3 years of supervised release by Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt.

Boye pleaded guilty on October 31, 2016 to conspiracy to export defense articles (firearms) from the United States from January 1, 2014 to June 21, 2016.

He is the third Gambian to be jailed in the jailed for their role in the coup plot. His colleagues, Cherno Njie, the coup financier, and Banka Manneh who were jailed last year for conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence have already completed their terms.

Papa Faal, and Alagie Saidy Barrow who were also prosecuted for the same offence were sentenced to time served while in custody.

In 2012, with the intention of bringing political and social change to the Gambia, Gambian-American citizens and others joined a conspiracy entitled, the Gambia Freedom League.  The group hoped to take over the country, gain support from internal allies, and bring about regime change.  The primary goal was to overthrow  the former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who had been in control of Gambia since his own nonviolent coup in 1994 and whose rule had been marred by accusations of years of human rights violations.

The conspiracy included directives for certain individuals to purchase firearms, others to ship them to the Gambia in 55-gallon barrels concealed among secondhand clothing, and others to travel and physically engage in the coup itself.  Boye’s role was to purchase firearms and ammunition.

On December 30, 2014, members of the armed conspiracy attempted to violently breach the door of the State House in Gambia.  The attempt failed and many of the conspirators died as a result of the ensuing gun battle.  Following the assault, the Gambian military recovered at least 35 firearms, assault gear, vehicles, and 55-gallon barrels.

Jammehs Weapons
President Jammeh inspecting some of the guns the men used in the attack

On December 31, 2014, a member of the Gambia Freedom League returned to the United States and was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  With the information received from the interview, the FBI initiated their investigation.  The Investigation revealed bank records displaying that on August 25, 2014, US$7,000 had been wired to Boye in Raleigh.

On August 26, 2014, Boye had purchased two AK-47 style assault rifles, as well as 7,000 rounds of ammunition, and 98 AK-47 magazines.

On September 5, 2014, Boye also purchased four Diamondback rifles.

In early 2015, following the failed coup, FBI agents traveled to the Gambia, inventoried, and photographed the 35 firearms seized by the Gambian government.  Five of those firearms matched serial numbers on the firearms purchased by Boye.

The criminal investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Jason Kellhofer prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.