Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has said Tuesday’s assault on State House is a “terrorist attack.”
“…this is not a coup, it is a terrorist attack by Gambian dissidents based in the US, Germany and the UK backed by some powers that I would not name,” Jammeh said on State TV Wednesday.
On December 30, 2014, an armed group led by former State Guard Commander Lt Colonel Lamin Sanneh attacked the presidential palace in Banjul, the capital overnight – with heavy gunfire that lasted hours.
The fighting resulted in the death of at least three armed men including Sanneh, according to reports. Other reports took the death toll to five. As of January 2, 2015, the government was yet to give out information on the exact number of casualties.
Jammeh was out of the country at the time of the attack and upon his return, he displayed an array of arms and ammunition on State TV that were said to have been brought into the country by the attackers.
He said a “coup” would have involved the armed forces, but The Gambia armed forces did not participate in the process and instead repelled it.
“No force can take this place. Nobody can destabilize this country and anyone who plans to attack this country, be ready, because you are going to die,” he warned, while commending the country’s armed forces for their loyalty and foresight.
Residents of the Gambia wake up to reports of a coup on Tuesday, and gripped by panic, the majority of the people stayed home without clear information about what is going on. State radio went off air for hours and only resumed around 10am playing music – while the capital remained shut for the day.
“I think people are only staying home for their personal safety and security. No one seems to know what is going on,” a stall owner at Serekunda market said, while shutting to go home.
At noon, Gambia radio announced: “Contrary to rumours been circulated, peace and calm continues to prevail in The Gambia. The Government would like to urge the public and businesses to carry on with their normal activities…”
Meanwhile, there have been reports of ‘dozens arrests’ including military personnel and civilians after the foiled attack, according to reports. The government is yet to confirm the arrests but the President had said Wednesday that those involved will be dealt with.
Source: The Voice, additional reporting by Modou S. Joof
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