- Author, Omar Wally
- Role, BBC News
- Reporting from Banjul, Gambia
The sister of the alleged leader of an attempted coup in The Gambia is calling for his release, saying he is not involved in any plot to overthrow the government of President Adama Barrow.
Corporal Sanna Fadera was arrested a week ago after being presented by the government as the mastermind of an attempted coup.
Two other officers were arrested over the weekend, the government said.
This brings the number of arrests linked to the alleged plot to seven.
None of the defendants has yet been charged in court.
In a BBC interview, Alia Fadera, the lance corporal’s older sister, said he couldn’t have plotted a coup because he was just a medic in the navy, with no access to weapons. nor influence in the army.
“Since my brother’s arrest, we have not heard from him and we are worried,” she added.
Ms Fadera said the soldiers detained her brother at his workplace in Banjul, the capital, before taking him to their village of Kiang Nema, 155 km away.
“His house and his farm were searched by the military but no weapon was found,” she added.
Ms. Fadera says her brother had lived in the village with his wife and four children, who were devastated by the allegations against him.
He commuted to work daily and ran a reptile farm in his spare time.
“The whole village is surprised and when the military truck arrived, most of the villagers came out to see what was happening. I call on the authorities to release my brother,” Ms. Fadera said.
Meanwhile, the government named the latest officers arrested as Captain Ebrima Baldeh of the military intelligence unit and Lieutenant Omar Colley of the 1st Infantry Battalion.
The government adds that it has set up a group of experts – made up of 11 members of the army, intelligence services and the Ministry of Justice, among others – to carry out a full investigation into the alleged coup plot. of state.
The Gambia is a very stable West African country, popular with holidaymakers for its beaches and wildlife.
Life has gone on as normal since the government announced it had foiled the coup attempt last Tuesday.
President Barrow first took office after a surprise victory over longtime leader Yahya Jammeh in the 2016 election.
Mr. Jammeh’s 22-year rule has been marked by repression and human rights abuses.
He went into exile in Equatorial Guinea after his defeat, although he remains an influential figure in The Gambia.
President Barrow distrusts the military. Troops from neighboring Senegal are tasked with his personal security, while the main international airport and seaport are guarded by troops from Nigeria and Ghana respectively.
This situation has made him unpopular with many Gambians, who believe that he has undermined the country’s sovereignty by relying on foreign forces.