The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has praised the Gambian armed forces for foiling the alleged attempted coup against the government of President Adama Barrow.
The Ecowas Commission said in a statement late Wednesday that it stood by the democratically elected government and warned against unconstitutional change of government in all of its member states.
“Ecowas Commission stands firmly by the democratically elected government of The Gambia and once again reiterates its total condemnation of the attempted coup plot,” the statement said.
The Gambian authorities had said four people were detained on Tuesday in an operation prompted by an intelligence report of the alleged coup plot. Three other suspects were said to be at large or been pursued, the government said in the statement that laid to rest rumours of the attempted coup.
West Africa coups
The incident marks the seventh time the military in West Africa have tried to seize power in the last three years — in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and now Gambia, mainland Africa’s smallest nation. They succeeded only in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso. Both in Mali and Burkina Faso, two coups in each country were staged within the period.
The developments have further confirmed fears of the resurgence of unconstitutional change of government in a region once dominated by military regimes and civil unrests.
Ecowas, an economic and political entity, has said it is determined to prevent the re-emergence of unconditional changes and it has vowed to do so by being tough in its response to all the coups.
The alleged attempted coup in The Gambia came two days after military chiefs from the region met in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau, to deliberate on a plan to establish a military force designed to intervene and reverse coups, among other actions.
Meanwhile, tension is mounting in the country in the aftermath of the confirmation of the failed coup, as critics of the government accused it of witch-hunting.
A leading opposition politician, Momodou Sabally, was reportedly invited for questioning by the police, hours after the foiled coup was confirmed.
Mr Sabally, an outspoken politician, was once a righthand man of the exiled former President Yahya Jammeh. He has since joined the ranks of the main opposition United Democratic Party, Barrow’s former party.
Meanwhile, in a second statement on the alleged coup later on Wednesday evening, the government identified the names of the soldiers detained on suspicion of involvement in the act.
The association of civil societies in the country has added its voice to the chorus of condemnations of the alleged attempted coup. The Gambia Association of Non-governmental Organisations condemned any attempt by the security forces to take power by force.
“As a country that has suffered 22 years of brutality from a regime that came through the barrel of the gun, claiming to be soldiers with a difference, all Gambians must be alert and stand against any attempt to take us back to being under military rule in this country,” it said in a statement. It also called on the president to ensure transparency in the investigations and for the accused to get justice.
Source: The East African