Two American Citizens Charged After Trying To Overthrow Gambian Government

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gmTwo American citizens have been arrested and charged with conspiring to stage a coup last month in the west African nation of Gambia.

The two men are now in custody following their participation in the failed attempt to overthrow the Gambian government on Dec. 30.

The duo Cherno Njie and Papa Faal, travelled separately from the U.S. to Gambia with about a dozen other conspirators. Before leaving the U.S., the group had purchased firearms, including M4 semi-automatic rifles, which they shipped to Gambia for use in the attempted government overthrow.

The two major alleged conspirators later returned to the U.S., where they were taken into custody. The Justice Department said both are expected to make court appearances on Monday.

“These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of U.S. law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. “The United States strongly condemns such conspiracies. With these serious charges, the United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions.”

On Dec. 30, the group, including Faal, attempted an assault on the residence of the Gambian president in Banjul, firing shots into the air before fleeing the scene under heavy fire from security officers. Some were killed, but Faal was able to flee the scene and eventually return to the U.S. Njie, who did not take part in the assault but instead waited in a safe place, also fled the country and returned to the U.S.

Njie, a 57-year-old from Austin, was charged with one count of “conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act” and one count of “conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.”

Had the attempted coup succeeded, Njie and his co-conspirators planned for him to serve as the interim leader of the country.

Faal, a 46-year-old from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was charged with two identical counts.

The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the investigation. Gambia’s current president Yahya Jammeh has been in power since a 1994 coup.

Source: AIT

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