Gambia: Ex-military general denies snitching on American coup plotters

Gambia: Ex-military general denies snitching on American coup plotters

A former military general that has been accused of leaking information about an impending putsch to oust the former iron-fist ruler of The Gambia has denied any involvement.

Gen. Musa Savage, a Lieutenant Colonel at the time of the coup plot to remove Yahya Jammeh from power in 2014, said he was not part of the coup but intimated he stopped the attackers during the assault.

“I don’t even have an iota of an idea of the attack; it was a surprise to me that State House was attacked. Faal was one of the attackers, but let him find out from other attackers whether before, during and after the operation,” if he [Savage] was part of them, he said to the Standard Newspaper’s Omar Wally.

Savage said the phone records are available to back his claims and one of the attackers on the heavily fortified presidential compound, Bai Lowe had reportedly stated that an army captain, Buba Bojang was Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh’s contact in the Gambian Army.

Sanneh, a former commander of Jammeh’s elite presidential guards led the attackers, two of whom were soldiers in the U.S. military.

“We found out that Savage was going to be the commander at the Sentinel. He [Savage] knew that we were coming. If Sanneh was not on favorable terms with Savage, he would not have contacted him,” said Papa Faal, a retired U.S. Air Force Seargent.

Jammeh had promoted several soldiers, including Savage for helping squash the coup. He became the head of a counter-terrorism unit that was set up in the aftermath of the plot.

Savage has been dismissed from The Gambia’s Army after new President Adama Barrow took over power. The ex-general was in charge of the military unit protecting Jammeh’s home and properties in the southwestern region of Foni.

The presidential compound in Foni Kanilai was the first strategic military installation and property of Jammeh to be seized in a military operation authorized by Mr. Barrow with the backing of West African forces to oust Jammeh and enforce the outcome of the elections after Jammeh refused to cede power.

The late December coup was hatched in the United States and U.S. intelligence services had reportedly tipped off West African authorities.

Weapons were smuggled out of the U.S. for the operations funded. Five Gambian-Americans were prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for the coup that left one of its citizens dead. They have served their time and three have already finished their probation.

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