Sunday, February 25, 2024

Gambia coup plotters: model citizens at home in US, but ‘everybody has a breaking point’

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Cherno Nije and Papa Faal are successful American citizens who by all accounts were living the American dream. No one knew of their secret plan to seize control of their home country of the Gambia
Analysis: ‘The Gambia coup didn’t just fail, it backfired’
Two men in US charged with conspiring to overthrow Gambian government


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To those who knew him in Texas, Cherno Njie was a pillar of the community: a well-educated senior government worker turned rich and socially conscious property developer, a former school board member and a supporter of human rights and political progress in Africa.

To his alleged fellow insurgents in the Gambia he was codename “Dave”, a mastermind and financier behind a bungled plot to overthrow the president of the tiny west African country and install himself as the interim leader.

To the FBI he is a suspect charged with breaking a law dating back to 1794 called the Neutrality Act by conspiring to attempt a coup against a nation with which the US is at peace.

Njie, an Austin-based American citizen of Gambian descent, and Papa Faal, a dual Gambian-US citizen living in Minnesota and dubbed “Fox”, were arrested earlier this month after returning to the US following an alleged attempt to bring down Yahya Jammeh by seizing his presidential residence on 30 December. They appeared in federal court on Monday, where they were charged with weapons violations and violating the Neutrality Act.

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