U.S. Federal Prosecutors Explain Charges

Eric Holder

‘In the Case of Cherno Njie and Papa Faal versus U.S federal Prosecutors. Papa Faal admits involvement in coup plot, admits shipment of weapons and being in the Gambia or surroundings. Cherno Njie did not also dispute charges as yet. How did the U.S prosecutors get access to the information leading to the charges? Was the information supplied by the Jammeh administration from the supposed laptop seized from insurgents.’

Washington — Federal prosecutors have charged two U.S. men in connection with a violent failed coup attempt against the government of Gambia last month in an alleged conspiracy that included an undisclosed number of other Americans.

Cherno Njie, 57, a U.S. citizen of Gambian descent living in Texas, and Papa Faal, 46, a citizen of both the U.S. and Gambia living in Minnesota, were named in a unusual criminal complaint made public Monday that outlined a months-long conspiracy in which firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, were allegedly shipped to the West African nation for use in the failed overthrow.

Several of the assailants died in the Dec. 30 failed assault on the residence of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. It was not immediately clear how many were killed and whether the dead included other Americans.

In a video posted on the Gambian government’s website, Jammeh said the assault was carried out by “dissidents” based in Germany, the U.S. and Great Britain.

Jammeh was photographed next to a flatbed truck that displayed an array of firearms reportedly seized in the attack.

“I live for the Gambia,” Jammeh said. “I die for the Gambia.”

Njie, an Austin businessman, is described in federal court documents as the financier and leader of the alleged conspiracy who was expected to serve as the “interim leader” of the government had the coup succeeded.

Faal, of Brooklyn Center, Minn., reportedly told federal investigators following his arrest that he had served in both the U.S. Air Force and Army, before his Army discharge in 2012. He joined the coup attempt, according to court documents, because he had become “disenchanted by the way the president was rigging elections and because of his concerns with the plight of the Gambian people.”

Both suspects are charged with conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act for their alleged actions against a friendly nation and conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. The two made brief, separate court appearances Monday. Njie did not challenge his detention in a Baltimore federal court. He will be moved to Minneapolis where the case will be prosecuted, federal officials said. A similar hearing was held for Faal in Minneapolis.

“These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of U.S. law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The United States strongly condemns such conspiracies. With these serious charges, the United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions.”

Up to a dozen members of the conspiracy, according to court documents, entered Gambia earlier this year, expecting that others, including a battalion of sympathetic Gambian soldiers, would join their side. Before their departures, which occurred between August and October, Faal and other conspirators allegedly purchased the firearms and shipped them to Gambia. The group also acquired night-vision goggles, body armor, ammunition, black military-style uniform pants, boots and other equipment.

An estimated 30 firearms were shipped to Gambia, some of them hidden in 50-gallon barrels containing clothing, the court documents stated.

“Faal admitted he knew shipping the guns was illegal, but was more concerned with carrying out the coup,” the documents stated.

On Dec. 30, according to the complaint, Faal and other conspirators allegedly gathered in the woods near the home of the Gambian president in Banjul where they split into two teams.

At that time, prosecutors allege that Njie was waiting at a secure location until the teams took control of the home. The teams, however, were allegedly routed by heavy fire from guard towers when they approached, resulting in the deaths of several conspirators.

Faal and Njie fled, returning to the U.S., where they were arrested.



  1. Too sad! But the good thing is this is the USA not Banjul where they would stand trial.

    This would not stop the struggle. Nothing would stop it until Yahya is uprooted and prosecuted

  2. Agree with you Gambia at least it is going to be a free trial without torture, like in the Gambia.

  3. In God we trust. We are NOT ashame of our actions. We will FREE our country God Willing and next time Jammeh’s life will not be spared as this past one. Let Jammeh keep bragging we are wounded lions and we will re-attack Inshallah.

  4. This is very sad for our country, Gambia, because Yahya is killing our families, torturing, poisoning. I am American citizen who is very concern about Gambia. International communities are seeing what Yahya is doing but they are not doing anything to stop that but will wait until Yahya kills lots of families then they will react. We will respect American rules and requlations but we will not sit and let Yahya kill our families like that. All we want in our great country is peace and harmony,period. Our country is in a very bad situation now, no freedom, justice, rule.

    Please if you know their court dates,place and address forward it to me, I live in USA, Minnesota.

  5. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    I read somewhere that the widow of the US Army Captain killed was “wondering what to tell the kids”. Very sad. Mr. Cherno Njie, as “leader and financier of the coup plot”, must take financial responsibility for the children of those those who died. If he does not do so willingly and settle out of court with the families, it seems to me that the widows and the fatherless kids will have a water-tight case in US courts. I am afraid that is an unavoidable legal consequence.

    • Dida I don’t think there’s any need for any insinuations that can distract the struggle…. All Gambians, with non to blame, are in this together, to salvage the country from tyrannical oppression & exploitation…….any how or means it may take to accomplish….. It behoves on us all for collaboration in solidarity with all & any family & or person affected, direct & indirectly…. Gambians as country, will surely redress these & other issues related to the struggle, specifically in post dictatorship…..