FILE - Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia, speaks to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2014.
FILE - Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia, speaks to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2014.

A Gambian Diaspora leader said two US citizens charged by the United States for conspiracy to overthrow Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in a failed coup attempt are liberators of Gambia’s “oppressed” people.  

The U.S. Justice Department said Monday Papa Faal, who holds a dual citizenship, and Cherno Njie were arrested in the U.S. upon their return from The Gambia, where they had allegedly helped launch a December 30 coup attempt.

The two are charged with conspiring to violate the U.S. Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens or residents from taking up arms or plotting against a nation at peace with America.

Jammeh himself has blamed unidentified foreign dissidents and “terrorists” for the attempted coup.  

But Pa Samba Jow, spokesman for the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists in the Diaspora, said Gambia, under Jammeh, is not at peace with the U.S.  

He accused Banjul of imprisoning two U.S.-Gambian citizens – Alhagie Mammut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe.  

Jow said Fall and Njie are respected citizens who chose to stand up for the “oppressed” people of The Gambia.  

“Being that the government we have there (in the Gambia) has refused to accord Gambians any legal means of determining their manner of government, we are left with what President Kennedy said, which is that those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” he said.

Jow said Gambians in the Diaspora believe the U.S. has “slapped” them in the face by standing with the dictatorship in The Gambia.

“Any charge against any Gambian who is fighting to restore democracy in The Gambia is nothing but an endorsement of tyranny in the Gambia,” he said.

He described Fall and Njie as “outstanding, upright” citizens of the United States and well-respected in the Gambian Diaspora community.

“These are people who are not only committed to the ideals of democracy but are very honest, upright citizens who feel the need that they cannot continue to sit in the comfort of their apartments or houses in the United States while Gambians continue to be oppressed. So, we believe that these are the best citizens that anybody can have,” Jow said.? “You cannot have peace with a country that kidnaps your own citizens. Now, Gambia is not at peace with the United States and it is not at peace with the Gambian people. What we have in The Gambia is a rogue state.”