Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Government Dismisses “Rumors” of Coup Attempt in Gambia


NAIROBI – A senior Gambian official denied on Tuesday that there has been an attempted coup in the country and said the situation was “back to normal” after heavy gunfire had earlier been heard near government buildings in Banjul, the capital.

Presidential Affairs Minister Kalilou Bayo downplayed information published by various local media outlets claiming that a group of soldiers took advantage of the absence from the country of President Yahya Jamme to attack government buildings.

In his statements to the African Press Agency (APA), Bayo dismissed the reports as “rumors” and insisted that “peace and calm” are prevailing while calling on citizens and businesses to go about their normal activities.

Earlier, local media had reported that mutineers attacked the Presidential Palace in the capital, Banjul, and a military barracks at Denton Bridge, which connects the city with the rest of the country, as well as other buildings in the city, the local Freedom newspaper reported.

The same paper said that at least five rebel soldiers died during subsequent assaults on the presidential palace, including the alleged coup leader, Lamin Sanneh, a former commander of the presidential guard.

On Sunday, APA had reported that Yahya Jammeh had set off for France at the head of a large government delegation for talks with French President François Hollande.

Born in 1965, Yahya Jammeh came to power in 1994, in the aftermath of a coup, and since then has won four consecutive presidential elections.


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