Gambian coup plot sees eight former soldiers sentenced

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Eight former soldiers were sentenced for plotting to overthrow Gambia’s president Adama Barrow in 2017 with the help of his ousted predecessor, the country’s Court Martial said.

The soldiers were led by a former military aide to ex-president Yahya Jammeh, who ruled Gambia for 22 years before losing a 2016 election to Barrow and then refusing to step down.

The plotters, who pleaded not guilty, were charged with nine counts including treason for conspiring to detain ministers and military officials and attack an international force set up in Gambia to retain order after Jammeh’s departure.

Seven of the accused received nine year sentences and one got three years.

They were in contact with former president Jammeh over the messaging service WhatsApp, the Court Martial said and discussed attacking troops in areas of the country still considered loyal to the former president.

Rights groups and the current government say Jammeh’s 22-year rule was marred by human rights abuses and fraud, allegations Jammeh denies.