At least four people were killed in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Tuesday when government forces foiled an alleged coup plot against President Yahya Jammeh.
According to AFP, some armed men led by former State House Commander, Lt. Colonel Lamin Sanneh, invaded the country from neighbouring Senegal and attacked the presidential palace in Banjul and the military post at the Denton Bridge, which links Banjul to the southern part of the country.
The gunfight started at around 1 am local time and lasted until the early hours of the morning. Sanneh is reported to have been injured during the gunfight.
There were unconfirmed reports that he died from his injuries. Four armed men were reported to have been killed while four others have been captured.
One of the attackers was reported to have sustained serious injuries.
There have been several coup attempts against the government of Jammeh, who also came to power in a coup and is accused by critics of governing The Gambia with an iron fist and committing serious rights abuses including arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances.
Jammeh was in France for a medical check-up when the attempted coup took place, but there were reports that he was on his way back to Banjul.
“Between four and five people were killed during a gun battle at State House and Denton Bridge,” said a senior government official who requested anonymity.
A source said a shoot-out took place on the outskirts of Banjul, with one soldier sustaining serious injuries and is being treated at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
“A small group of ill-intentioned individuals attempted to carry out this evil plot against our peaceful country,” the source said. “Thank God our gallant soldiers were able to neutralise them.”
Armed soldiers are reported to be patrolling the streets of Banjul and Kanilai.
Sanneh was appointed Commanding Officer of the State Guards in July 2012. He was removed from the post a year later and later fled the country after falling out with Jammeh.
He was born in Kalagi village, Foni Jarrol District, in 1979. He attended Tankular Primary School, Brikama Junior Secondary School and Nusrat Senior Secondary School before joining the army in 2000.
He obtained AAT from the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) in 2002 before proceeding to the University of The Gambia where he graduated in 2009 with a BSc in Management and Finance.
In 2012, he graduated with an MA in Strategic Security Studies at the National Defence University, Washington, USA.