Gambia convicts six over failed plot to topple Jammeh
BANJUL (Reuters) - Six soldiers were convicted in Gambia for their role in a failed attempt to oust President Yahya Jammeh late last year and were sentenced to either death or life in prison, security sources and family members of the accused said on Tuesday.
A handful of assailants mounted an early morning assault on the presidential palace in the capital Banjul on Dec. 30 in what U.S. prosecutors say was a plot to topple Jammeh and replace him with a Texas housing developer.
Modou Njie, a former private in the Gambian army, was captured at the scene, while the others directly involved in the attack were either killed in the clash with palace guards or fled.
Njie was put on trial before a closed-door military court along with five military officers who were arrested in the wake of the failed coup.
Charges included treason, conspiracy and mutiny, relatives of the accused told Reuters.
Njie, along with Lieutenant-Colonel Saikou Jarju and Lieutenant Buba Sanneh, were also charged with assisting the enemy and sentenced to death when the verdicts were handed down on Monday, said security sources, who asked not to be named.
Those sentenced to life in prison included Captain Buba Bojang, Lieutenant Amadou Sowe and Captain Abdoulie Jobe, according to the security sources.
The men have the right to appeal the verdicts within one month, a judicial source said.
"By all accounts the courts martial that took place were done in secret and the panel consisted solely of military personnel," said Jeffrey Smith, Africa specialist at advocacy group Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Continued...