The Gambian government on Friday charged eight soldiers with treason in connection with an alleged coup attempt last month, a government spokesman said in a statement.

On December 21, the government said it had thwarted a coup attempt the day before and detained some soldiers.

The eight members of the Gambia Armed Forces were also charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, according to the statement.

All but one of the suspects have been sent to prison, and Petty Officer Class Two, Lamin Jadama, is still wanted.

“The Government of The Gambia declares (Jadama) a fugitive from justice and urges citizens and security agencies, both inside and outside the jurisdiction, to report him to the nearest police or security post,” spokesman Ebrima said. Sankareh in the statement.

On Tuesday, the government charged two civilians and a police officer with treason cover-up and conspiracy to commit a felony in connection with the alleged plot.

Opposition politician Momodou Sabally, a former minister for presidential affairs under former dictator Yahya Jammeh, was arrested and later released.

The West African nation last week set up an “investigation panel” to investigate the alleged coup and gave it 30 days to report.

On Thursday, in the first details of the attempted coup, national security adviser Abubakarr Suleiman Jeng said the plotters aimed “to arrest cabinet ministers and senior government officials to use as hostages to prevent any foreign intervention.”

“They also had plans to remove all senior military officers from the rank of major and above and restructure (the army),” he told reporters in the capital Banjul.

The Gambia is a fragile democracy, still scarred by a brutal 22-year dictatorship under Jammeh.

He was defeated in a presidential election in December 2016 by political newcomer Adama Barrow and fled to Equatorial Guinea, but retains his influence at home.

Barrow was re-elected in December 2021 for a second five-year term.

AFP