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Allied soldiers launched a failed coup attempt in Gambia,President Yahya Jammeh Visiting Dubai



A group of disaffected soldiers launched a failed coup bid in The Gambia on Tuesday while the west African state’s iron-fisted leader was in Dubai, military and diplomatic sources said.

Forces loyal to President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled the small country for 20 years, killed three suspects including the alleged ringleader — an army deserter, a military officer said.

The officer, speaking to AFP from Bissau, said the deserter named as Lamin Sanneh led a heavily-armed attack with another six men on the presidential palace in the capital Banjul.

The pre-dawn assault triggered panic in the tropical city, while national radio went off air for several hours and state television was suspended.

Opposition politician Sheikh Sidya Bayo told a private Senegalese radio station that the unrest was “the start of a mutiny that changed” into a bid to topple Jammeh.

Three of the suspected coup plotters were killed and another captured by Jammeh’s forces, but there was no confirmation of an overall death toll from the fighting.

“Police and the army are now entirely in control of the situation,” the military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A Gambian diplomat said the presidential palace was attacked at around 3:00 am (0300 GMT) by armed men, including members of the presidential guard.

“They wanted to overthrow the regime,” a military source told AFP, while a Western diplomat said a coup attempt has “apparently been foiled”.

Army patrols urged people to return home and remain calm as they fanned out across the capital. Shops, banks offices and businesses were closed and few vehicles were on the streets.

“Contrary to rumors, there is peace and calm in the country and people are advised to go about their normal businesses. We are praying for peace and tranquility to continue,” state radio announced late Monday, quoting a government statement.

Source: AFP