Gambia: Government Says Coup Attempt Foiled

Gambia: Government Says Coup Attempt Foiled
Last updated Dec 21, 2022
Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC]


  • According to a government announcement released on Wednesday, four Gambian soldiers have been arrested after authorities foiled an alleged coup attempt to overthrow Pres. Adama Barrow's administration.[1]
  • In a statement, the government said the alleged coup attempt was uncovered "based on intelligence reports," adding that the army is in pursuit of the three other alleged co-conspirators.[2]
  • Coup attempts aren't uncommon in the West African country of 2.5M people. Former Pres. Yahya Jammeh, who himself gained power through a coup in 1994, foiled several attempts to overthrow him until he was ousted in the 2016 election. Barrow also faced a coup attempt staged by Jammeh's military aides a year after taking power.[3]
  • Jammeh was forced into exile after his defeat in 2016, with many senior army officers leaving simultaneously. Barrow has since been wary of the military, with troops from neighboring Senegal in charge of his personal security and the main international airport and seaport guarded by troops from Nigeria and Ghana, respectively.[4]
  • Barrow's use of foreign security personnel, coupled with his decision to break away from the United Democratic Party (UDP) — which pushed him to power in 2016 — and form the National People's Party (NPP), has stoked discontentment among the Gambian people.[4]
  • Despite the previous coup attempt involving former Jammeh aides, the Barrow government's statement didn't include any details on whether this alleged plot was linked to the previous regime.[2]


Establishment-critical narrative

After promising to prioritize tackling corruption during his 2016 campaign, president Barrow has since done very little to rid his government of greedy side-door financial schemes. Public discontent will only grow as its leaders continue to turn a blind eye and offer no concrete solutions to help the people it's supposed to represent.

Pro-establishment narrative

Though his decision to align with the National People's Party coalition has ruffled some feathers, Barrow's actions are based on his goal of cleaning up the economic mess left by Jammeh and maintaining a strong, united Gambia. Political discontent is no excuse for attempting to overthrow the democratically elected government, and those responsible should be pursued and punished.

Establishment split



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