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Unknown gunmen attacked the state house in Banjul in what is suspected to have been a bid to overthrow the government of President Jammeh. The Gambian military said they had overcome the would-be coup.
With President Yahya Jammeh away, soldiers in Gambia are reported to have attempted to stage a military coup early on Tuesday (30.12.2014). Jammeh, who seized power himself in a military coup two decades ago, was said to be in Dubai by some sources and in France by others.
"The presidential palace was attacked very early this morning, at around 3 a.m., by armed individuals of whom some came from the presidential guard," a Gambian diplomat said.
"They wanted to overthrow the regime," a military source in the small west African country told the AFP news agency. The attackers were apparently beaten back by troops loyal to Jammeh. Residents of the city confirmed that they heard gunfire in the night and that soldiers had prevented some people from going to work in the morning. Banks and other offices remained closed on Tuesday, residents told the media. State radio played traditional music and did not report on the incident.
Jammeh, who was elected outright two years after his own coup and reelected three times since, has stifled dissent in Gambia and faced increased criticism from abroad over his human rights record.
There has been no official confirmation of the overthrow attempt as soldiers continued to block access to downtown Banjul.
es/pfd (AFP, Reuters)