The Government of Gambia has arrested five soldiers over an alleged coup plot, the government said.
The arrests made between Wednesday and Thursday followed intelligence reports received by the government that some soldiers of the Gambian army were plotting to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Adama Barrow.
A statement from the president’s office gave the names of the arrested soldiers as follows: Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera from the Gambia Navy as the alleged ringleader of the plot; Corporal Mbarra Touras; Corporal Ebrahima Sanno from the Military Police who is currently on study leave; Sergeant Gibril Darboe from The Gambia Navy and Corporal Baboucarr Njie.
According to the statement, apprehended soldiers are currently helping the Military Police with their investigations.
“Alleged soldiers involved in the plot either being pursued or on the run are: Warrant Officer Class 2 Jadama from The Gambia Navy and one Badjie from The Gambia Navy. First names of Jadama and Badjie are yet to be established,” it said.
The government urged citizens to go about their usual activities as investigations into the matter are continuing and members of the public would be accordingly informed of any developments as the situation unfolds.
Coups in The Gambia
Although viewed as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, coups are not new in Gambia.
Before the emergence of Adama Barrow in 2016, the West African country was ruled for two decades by Yahya Jammeh who seized power in a coup in 1994 and foiled several attempts to overthrow him before he lost an election.
READ ALSO: Jonathan hosts leaders of Gambia’s political parties
On 30 December 2014, gunmen recruited by the coup plotters attacked the State House of the Gambia, the official presidential residence, engaging in heavy gunfire exchange with government forces.
Soldiers blocked several points of entry to the city and a full blackout of the state radio and television was placed into effect.
The coup was short-lived as the coup plotters failed to consolidate power; Mr Jammeh returned the next day to continue as leader of the country.
Africa, home to about 1.4 billion people, about one-fifth of the global population, has been riddled with more coups in the last two years than it saw in the five years prior, since 2015.
Between 2015 and 2019, there was only one successful but across the continent.
In contrast, from 2019 to date, there have been at least seven successful coups on the African continent, most of them in West Africa.
Findings by Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne at the University of Central Florida and the University of Kentucky show that of 486 attempted or successful coups carried out around the world since 1950, almost half (214), the most of any region, occurred in Africa with 106 of them successful.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999