Thursday, 18 March 2010
Gambia charges alleged coup plotters
Reports from Banjul indicate that the authorities have finally charged a number of security officers rounded up since last October, in a wave of arrests that still appears unabated, on allegations of attempting to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh’s government.
Sources say that among the accused are General Lang Tombong Tamba, former Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambian Armed Forces, who was sacked alongside a number of other high profile security personnel in the army, police and the country’s National Intelligence Agency. Interestingly, renegade former army chief, Colonel Ndure Cham, mastermind of the alleged March 2006 abortive coup, is reported to be among the list of people charged, although he still remains at large. It is not clear whether his charge has to do with the latest coup plot allegation or the March 2006 foiled one.
It would take the authorities about five months to come up with enough evidence to prefer charges against the General and nine other former security officers and three civilians.
Ironically, Colonel Cham’s almost successful coup was aborted thanks to General Tamba, who eventually took over as head of the army in what was clearly a payoff move.
We reported earlier about investigations on the so-called ‘Tobaski Coup plot’ taking Gambian investigators as far as Guinea Bissau, where a ship load of weapons, destined for the country, allegedly as part of the coup operation, was reportedly intercepted late last year. According to information regarding the investigations, the accused held a meeting in General Lang Tombong Tamba’s house, sometime in January 2009, where they allegedly agreed to acquire weapons from abroad and shipped to the Gambia.
A press release said to be from the Gambian Attorney General’s office, aired on the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), described Omar Bun Mbye, also at large, as the ‘‘ringleader’’ of the foiled coup.
The statement reads that “the indicted army and intelligence officials smuggled guns and foreign mercenaries into the country last year as part of a plot to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh and the democratically elected Government of the Republic of The Gambia”.
All ten men named in the charge sheet are accused of conspiracy to commit treason, contrary to section 35, 1g of the Criminal Code procedure, according to the details of the charge sheet.
The other accused are Lamin Bo Badjie, former Acting NIA Director; Ngorr Secka, formerly NIA agent and then deputy Gambian ambassador to Guinea Bissau; Colonel Kawsu Camara, aka Bombardier, former Kanilai Camp Commander and close ally of President Jammeh; Modou Gaye, former Deputy IGP; General Omar Bun Mbaye; Abdoulie Secka (Lie Joof); Yousuf Ezziden aka Rambo; and Omar Camara. The last three are all civilian and business men. Source: Jollofnews.com