African HRC Staff, December 29, 2014.
A group of soldiers launched a botched coup bid in The Gambia on Tuesday, while the president was abroad.
Six soldiers were involved in the attack on the Presidential palace, led by Lamin Sanneh, who has been described as an army deserter.
Press reports that soldiers loyal to President Yahya Jammeh killed 3 of the heavily armed attackers. It is believed that Sanneh was captured, but this has yet to be confirmed. Some reports say these are soldiers from the Presidential Guard itself.
A local Gambian source informs us that they were not surprised that Jammeh would be a target for such a coup, given his 20 year despotic rule, fraught with oppression and human rights abuses.
According to press reports: “The pre-dawn assault triggered panic in Bissau, while national radio went off air for several hours and state television was suspended. Police and the army are reporting that they are now entirely in control of the situation."
Jammeh seized control of the country through a coup in 1994 and is said to lead one of the most repressive regimes in Africa.
Jammey has launched a targetted campaign against gay Gambians and some fear that this failed coup will make things worse for LGBTI Gambians, as more stringent scrutiny is likely with heightened door to door hunts.