Gambia: Defence Minister Says GAF Subscribes to Constitutional Order of Government

Gambia's Defense Minister, Sheikh Omar Faye, has told Parliamentarians that the Gambia Armed Forces is an organization that subscribes to Constitutional Order of Government through the ballot box, and wishes to reiterate its readiness to defend and protect the sovereignty and integrity of the Gambia at all times.

Minister Faye gave this statement in response to a parliamentary question raised by the Member for Foni Jarrol Constituency, Alhagie Sankung Jammeh.

Jammeh in his question asked the following: "Can the Honorable Minister for Defense update this Assembly on the findings of the 31st December 2014 attack at the State House, which took some lives?"

In his response, Minister Faye said the following: "The attackers who lost their lives were Ex Major Lamin Sanneh, Ex Captain Njaga Jagne and Ex Sergeant Alagie Nyass. The attack was led by Lamin Sanneh, a dismissed Major from the Gambia Armed Forces and one time Commander of the State Guard Battalion."

The Minister added after his dismissal, Sanneh fled to Senegal and later re-settled in the United States of America. He said the other attackers were Njaga Jagne, a retired Captain of the United States National Guards; Baboucarr Low, former Warrant Officer Class Two of the Gambia Armed Forces referred to as Bai Low; Ex-Private Momodou Njie and Private Landing Sonko, all of the Gambia Armed Forces, with the latter who was on study leave at the time.

Minister Faye averred that during the exchange of fire at State House, Sanneh, Nyass and Jagne were killed in action, whilst Low and Sonko escaped and Momodou Njie was captured.

"The investigations further revealed that the attackers from the rear gate of the State House included Ex Lance Corporal Musa Sarr of the Gambia Armed Forces; Ex-Sergeant Papa Faal of the US Air Force; Ex-Sergeant Alagie Nyass of the defunct Gambia National Gendarmerie and Private Dawda Bojang of the Gambia Armed Forces," Faye said; that other members of the group were stationed at Brufut Heights, some 25 kilometers from Banjul, and they include Mr. Cherno M. Njie, the main sponsor of the attack and proposed interim leader; Alagie Saidy Barrow, the coordinator of the group and responsible for logistics and clearing of their weapons and other gadgets from the sea port, and EX-Lieutenant Musa Faal, a Gambian Resident in Germany, who deserted the group before the attack.

He further said that other items retrieved after the attack were 2 heavy machine guns with telescopic lenses, 17 MP15 individual riffles with optic lens devices, 9 AKM Automatic Assault rifles, 4 light machine guns, 3 pistols, 1 night vision goggle, 11 sat-pro communication devices, 17 body armor, 20 jackets and 5 canal bags.

He said the weapons recovered during the attack are in safe custody of the Gambia Armed Forces, and stressed that the aftermath of the coup witnessed the trial and sentencing of personnel who were alleged to have participated in the coup, both in the United States of America and the Gambia.

"As part of the National Reconciliation efforts after the change of Government in the Gambia, all those convicted in the Gambia were pardoned by the new Government," Faye concludes.

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