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Presidential Palace Attackers Sought in Gambia

  • VOA News

FILE - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh arrives for a summit in Abuja, Nigeria, Feb. 27, 2014.

FILE - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh arrives for a summit in Abuja, Nigeria, Feb. 27, 2014.

Forces loyal to the president of Gambia are going house-to-house in the capital, Banjul, in search of opponents responsible for the armed attack on his presidential palace this week.

President Yahya Jammeh said Thursday the predawn violence Tuesday was not a coup because the military remains loyal to him. Jammeh said this was an attack by "terrorists" supported by elements outside the country.

The president was out of the country at the time of the incident.

"There isn't any single participation of the armed forces, except for nullifying the attack. So it cannot be called a military coup because I've seen in some media houses, that they were saying a coup. This wasn't a coup, this was an attack by a terrorist group, backed by some powers that I won't name now, but of course we know where these dissidents are based," said Jammeh.

The French News Agency quotes a Gambian intelligence source as saying that dozens of Jammeh's political opponents have been arrested, interrogated and jailed. The government has not publicly confirmed that.

The United Nations has condemned the violence in Gambia. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has called for a transparent investigation of Tuesday's events as the president himself warned others against any attempt to seize power.

"So anybody who comes to attack this country be ready because you're going to die, no matter who you are and who backed you. Anybody involved in this will pay a high price - very soon. I mean very soon," said Jammeh.

Jammeh seized power in the former British colony at age 29 following a coup in 1994. Human rights activists say he has long targeted political opponents, journalists and homosexuals.

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