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Gambia charges two civilians and a police officer in alleged coup plot

FILE: Defence headquarters building in Banjul, Gambia   -  
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The Gambian government on Tuesday charged two civilians and a police officer in connection with an alleged coup attempt, a government spokesperson said in a statement.

Civilians Mustapha Jabbi and Saikuba Jabbi and Sub-inspector Fakebba Jawara of The Gambia Police Force were arrested on Friday and charged with concealment of treason and conspiracy to commit a felony.

They were remanded in custody at the Mile 2 Prison.

The government on December 21 said it had thwarted a coup attempt the previous day, and detained some military personnel.

Authorities have arrested at least seven soldiers, including a captain and lieutenant.

Opposition politician Momodou Sabally, a former minister of presidential affairs under ex-leader Yahya Jammeh, was arrested and later released.

The tiny West African nation last week set up an "investigative panel" to probe the alleged coup and was given 30 days to report.

READ MORE The Gambia sets up an investigative panel to examine coup attempt

On Thursday, in a first revelation of details of the coup bid, national security adviser Abubakarr Suleiman Jeng said the plotters aimed to "arrest cabinet ministers and senior government officials to use them as hostages to prevent any foreign intervention.

"They also had plans to retire all senior military officers from the rank of major and above and restructure (the army)," he told reporters in the capital, Banjul.

READ MORE The Gambia details plan of alleged coup plotters

The Gambia is a fragile democracy, still scarred by a brutal 22-year dictatorship under Jammeh.

He was defeated in a presidential election in December 2016 by political newcomer Adama Barrow and fled to Equatorial Guinea but retains clout back home.

Barrow was re-elected in December 2021 for a second five-year term in the former British colony, which is the smallest country on the African continent, straddling the river that gives it its name.

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