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Third American Citizen Charged in Gambia Coup Plot


FILE - Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia, was traveling when conspirators attacked the presidential palace in December.

U.S. prosecutors have charged a third American citizen in connection with last month's attempted coup in Gambia.

The Justice Department said Friday that Alagie Barrow, 41, had been charged in a Minnesota federal court with conspiring to invade a friendly country, as well as a weapons violation. Barrow, a Tennessee resident, holds U.S. and Gambian citizenship.

On Thursday, another U.S. citizen pleaded guilty to charges related to the coup attempt. Papa Faal, 46, admitted in court that he took part in the December 30 attack on the presidential palace in Gambia's capital, Banjul.

He was charged with conspiring to export arms to Gambia and conspiring to overthrow a foreign government with whom the United States is at peace. Faal also holds dual U.S. and Gambian citizenship.

Another U.S. citizen, Texas businessman Cherno Njie, was earlier arrested and charged by prosecutors. The Justice Department said the coup plotters had hoped to install Njie as Gambia's interim leader.

Faal said the conspirators initially planned to attack a presidential convoy but changed their target to Gambia's State House when they learned that President Yahya Jammeh was out of town.

State House guards repelled the attack. Faal said the plotters were "surprised by the fact that we had more resistance than anticipated."