2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt

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2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt
Date30 December 2014
Result Government victory

The Gambia Gambian Government

Faction of the Presidential Guard[1][2]
Commanders and leaders
President Yahya Jammeh Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh [3]
Casualties and losses
4 deaths, several wounded[3]

The 2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt broke out during the night of 30 December 2014, when gunfire erupted in the Gambian capital of Banjul.


At the time of the coup attempt President Yahya Jammeh had ran away and was out of the country, with sources differing on whether he was in France or Dubai.[2] Jammeh, who himself came to power in the 1994 Gambian coup d'état, had experienced several attempted coups against his regime, and sometimes accused the United Kingdom and United States of being behind said attempts.[4] Previously in November 2014, Jammeh condemned the European Union for its response to increasingly harsh anti-LGBT discrimination under his government. The following month those same measures caused the United States to drop the Gambia from one of its trade programmes.[5][6]


In 2013, President Jammeh removed the commander of his Presidential Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Lamin Sanneh. Sanneh then fled to Washington, D.C., he met Njaga Jagne, a fellow refugee from the Gambia and former officer of the Kentucky National Guard. Sanneh, Jagne, and a few others soon conceived a plot to overthrow President Jammeh.

Jagne convinced Cherno Nije, a Texan entrepreneur also from the Gambia, to help fund the project. Jagne also recruited Papa Faal and Alhagie Boye,[7] other Gambians and a veterans of the American army, as well as several Gambians living in Europe. Banka Manneh, another Gambian refugee and Sanneh's friend, claimed he would be able to gather a force of 160 soldiers from inside Gambia to assist in the coup.[8]


On December 30, 2014, the gunmen recruited by the plotters attacked the State House of the Gambia, the official presidential residence. Local media quickly identified them as having entered the country from neighbouring Senegal under the command of Lt Col. Lamin Sanneh.[3] The gunmen engaged in heavy fire with government forces. Soldiers blocked several points of entry to the city,[9] and a full blackout of the state radio and television was placed into effect.[1]

The fighting died off later during the day. Banks and other businesses remained closed, with state radio playing traditional music and mentioning nothing of the night's events.[10] Four people, including Sanneh and Njaga Jagne, were killed, and several more injured.[3][8][11]

With the gunmen failing to consolidate control, the coup failed. Jammeh returned the following day. Jammeh reshuffled his cabinet on January 10.[12]


After the coup failed, Papa Faal, one of the co-conspirators, entered the U.S. embassy in Dakar, Senegal seeking protection. However, he was instead interrogated. On January 1, 2015, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation raided homes in Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas as part of an investigation into the coup. That same weekend, the FBI also raided the offices of a Texas development firm. The owner of the Texas firm, Cherno Nije, was arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport and charged with violating the Neutrality Act of 1794.[8] During the raid on Nije's home in Texas, the FBI found a manifesto entitled “Gambia Reborn: A Charter for Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy and Development,” as well as a spreadsheet detailing the coup attempt's $221,000 budget funded by Nije, who was a millionaire.[13] Faal was also charged and later pleaded guilty.[14][15] Two others, Alagie Barrow of Tennessee and Banka Manneh of Georgia, were also charged.[16][17] Both later pleaded guilty as well.[18]

The Washington Post later revealed that the FBI had interviewed Sanneh at his home in Maryland and thereafter tipped off Senegalese officials about the plot through the State Department.[15]

It was reported on 2 April 2017 that corpses of three alleged conspirators, Lamin Sanneh, Alagie Nyass and Njaga Jagne were discovered by the Gambian police, after the fall of the Jammeh regime.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Gunfire Reported in Gambian Capital as President Away". The New York Times. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Gambia rocked by shooting while Jammeh abroad". British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Jarju, P. K. (30 December 2014). "Gambia Deaths As 'Coup' Foiled". Jollof News. Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. ^ Hirsch, Afua (9 October 2013). "The Gambia accuses UK and US of 'relentless efforts' to arrange a coup". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. ^ Saine, Pap; Flynn, Daniel (30 November 2014). "Gambia condemns EU pressure on anti-gay law, says to break ties". Reuters. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (24 December 2014). "Gambia dropped from U.S. trade program". Washington Blade. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Gambia: Raleigh Man Taken Into Custody In Connection With The December 30, Failed Coup In The Gambia! - Freedom Newspaper". Freedom Newspaper. 2016-08-06. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  8. ^ a b c Rice, Andrew (21 July 2015). "The reckless plot to overthrow Africa's most absurd dictator". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ Touray, Suwaibou (30 December 2014). "Gunshots Reported at President's Residence in Gambia Capital". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  10. ^ Felix, Bate; Lewis, David (30 December 2014). "Soldiers lock down Gambia capital after overnight shooting". Reuters. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  11. ^ Rosen, Armin (17 January 2015). "A US Veteran Died Trying To Topple An African Dictatorship Last Month". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  12. ^ Gambia reshuffles cabinet after coup attempt
  13. ^ Brown, Hayes (6 January 2015). "Meet the Man Who Wanted to Rule the Gambia". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Two Defendants Charged For Their Role In An Attempted Coup In The Gambia" (Press release). U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Minnesota. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b Whitlock, Craig; Goldman, Adam (31 May 2015). "How a reviled African ruler survived a coup hatched in the United States". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Third American Citizen Charged in Gambia Coup Plot". Voice of America. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  17. ^ Nyang, Modou (23 March 2015). "Banka Manneh Charged In the US In Relation To State House Attack". Foroyaa Newspaper. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  18. ^ Nyang, Modou (4 May 2015). "In U.S. Trial: Banka Manneh, Alagie Barrow to Plead Guilty". Foroyaa Newspaper. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Bodies of three accused coup conspirators in 2014 discovered". africanews.com. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.