US Charges Barrow Over Gambia Coup

alagie saidy_editedBy Amy Forliti Associated Press

A Tennessee man was charged Friday in last month’s failed attempt to overthrow the government in the West African nation of Gambia.

Alagie Barrow, 41, of Lavergne, Tennessee, is the third American of Gambian descent to be charged in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. He’s charged with breaking a law that makes it illegal to take military action against a country with which the U.S. is “at peace.” He’s also charged with one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm to further a crime of violence.

Barrow is in federal custody. His attorney, Joe Friedberg, said he just met his client Friday and had no immediate comment on the charges. Friedberg said a detention hearing will be held next week.

The charges stem from a Dec. 30 coup attempt in the former British colony, which came as longtime President Yahya Jammeh was away.

Two others have been charged. Papa Faal, 46, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to two counts Thursday. Faal admitted that he participated in the attack on Gambia’s State House, where he said he believes many of his co-conspirators died. Another man, Cherno Njie, 57, of Austin, Texas, made his initial court appearance in Baltimore earlier this month and is expected to face charges in Minnesota.

Prosecutors say Njie was a financier and would have served as the interim leader of Gambia had the coup succeeded.

Court documents say Faal and Barrow are dual citizens of the U.S. and Gambia; Njie is a U.S. citizen.

According to charging documents, Barrow and two others were the primary authors of an operations plan to take over the Gambian government. He participated in conference calls with other group members before leaving the U.S. for Gambia in December as part of the “advance party.” Prosecutors say he was responsible for bringing other group members to safe houses and he conducted reconnaissance of the State House.

Prosecutors say Barrow and Njie did not participate in the attack. According to the plan, Barrow, a former member of the Tennessee Army National Guard, was to escort Njie to the presidential palace after the coup.

According to an FBI affidavit, a search of Njie’s home revealed a spreadsheet that suggested Barrow may have received more than $125,000 to support the operation. At Barrow’s home, authorities found a book about planning a coup.

Human rights activists have long criticized the government in Gambia for targeting political opponents, journalists, and gays and lesbians. The U.S. government recently removed Gambia from a trade agreement in response to human rights abuses.

The U.S. denounced the coup attempt.

Courtesy of



  1. The US are being hypocritical in their dual standards by aiding other countries to rid off tyranny in their various countries whilst siding with the devilish kanilai murderer in our case…. Gambia may not have any oil to grease the US’ elbow but Gambian lives being butchered by the kanilai predatory murderer matters equally just like the US citizens….. US & the international community are doing a hypocritical disservice to the genuine Gambian people who are the TRUE friends & NOT the murderous armed bandit in kanilai by playing hypocritical protocol favouring the kanilai predatory murderer… The truth is that Gambians will NOT & NEVER abdicate our collective responsibility to reclaim the motherland UNTIL successful from tyrannically oppression of the murderous kanilai Satan & its cohorts… NO amount of intimidation will stop us… God help Gambia; Ameen.

  2. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    “Barrow and Faal are DUAL citizens … Njie is a USA citizen”.

    So, if the coup had succeeded, Gambians would have woken up on the 31st of December 2014 with a US citizen as a Self-Imposed President of The Gambia!!! Nice.

    • Dida there’s a Gambian Mandingo/Mandinka adage “no matter how long a lug or piece of wood stays in water, it can never turn, moult or metamorphose into a crocodile”… Theoretically Njie may be US citizen on paper but practically & NATURALLY he IS & will ALWAYS remain Gambian; hence his noble efforts in attempt to reclaim the motherland from decadence; only if every Gambian & friends could do the same, we would have had sanity returned…. Dida Gambians can always read through your hypocritical comments aid-abetting & appeasing the murderous kanilai Satan for whatever reasons be known to you….??? Another mandinka adage “you can’t be biting on our skin while blowing air unto it to soothe the pain”… I have warned you elsewhere before that Gambians are NOT naive; WHOSOEVER sided with the kanilai devilish predatory murderer openly & or sinisterly, took opportunistic advantage of our predicament in this DARKEST period of our country IS & will ALWAYS remain a foe & enemy of the Gambia…. We deserve better than hypocritical insinuations in this trying times of our history…. Post dictatorship which is almost here now will SURELY determine & differentiate the wolves from the sheep…. All are actions & utterances are being indelibly recorded… God help Gambia; Amen.

  3. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    Bajaw, stop the emotionalism and be realistic. Awhile back you were all arguing that Dr Scattred-Janneh should NOT be in Jammeh’s Cabinet – according to the Constitution – because he is a USA citizen. Now you are arguing the opposite using a proverb!!!
    By the way, the USA would NOT have charged these guys IF they were Gambian citizens who tried to overthrow the Gambian Government. The USA would have given them asylum! But they ARE USA citizens and they cannot go around trying to overthrow foreign governments – that is USA LAW that ALL citizens must abide by. USA is ruled by law – not by proverbs or Hadith.
    There is no analogy with Biko and Mandela’s heroic struggle either. Mandela and Biko were both CITIZENS of South Africa living under oppressive racist LAWS. There is nothing wrong with Gambian LAW – as Halifa will tell you.
    More to the point, these guys are USA citizens living the American Dream!
    On a final note, why did they could impose themselves on Gambians even for one day??? If they coup had succeeded, they should have been escorting Lawyer Ousainou Darboe to State House – not Coup Financier Njie!!
    I rest my case Bajaw.

    PS: USA Dollars 125,000 would probably more than the opposition have to campaign with during the last elections. I would be interested to know whether “The Financier” donated anything to the Oppositions election efforts

    • Dida the fact is Gambians know you are a hypocrite using your Gambian connection through your ex-partner for opportunistic gains from the kanilai devilish predatory murderer from your past stunt at the Observer newspaper where even the kanilai devil & its accomplices in the person fronting at the newspaper saw you as a fluke despite your aid-abetting alleging Gambia & Kombo in particular to belongs to devil & its tribe…??? I want you & WHOEVER can help you, including ALL the media newspapers to EVIDENTIARY PROVE your allegation of me EVER criticized Dr Janneh at ANY time for the period & lengths of when I started commenting politically, to date…. I have NEVER & will never EVER criticize Dr Amadou Janneh; he is my hero despite his past service in the kanilai devilish murderer criminal syndicate… Dr Janneh is human & fallible like anyone of us, he may have tried to serve the Gambia from within the kanilai predatory murderer’s circle which is IMPOSSIBLE for any & whoever tried to do in past & recent BUT he is now with the genuine Gambian people where he TRULY belongs, & he is & WILL continue to do his best & utmost to contribute his quota to salvage the motherland from decadence until successful… I hereby wait for your evidence & prove with WHOEVER can help you on your this allegations on my person; if not I WILL openly declare you an opportunistic pathological liar which most Gambians know you already are but its in our human nature to avoid not to upset anyone, nor matter how demeaning the person may be… You will be surprised if you happen to visit our homeland in post dictatorship. I am waiting for you have the onus to prove your allegations on me. Thanks.

      • Luntango Suun Gann Gi

        Bajaw, emotionalism leads you to miss the point!!! I said this:-

        “…Awhile back you were all arguing that Dr Scattred-Janneh should NOT be in Jammeh’s Cabinet – according to the Constitution – because he is a USA citizen”.

        “You were all” means everyone in general … it was the position of the Diaspora, not necessarily Bajaw himself!!!

        But since Bajaw does not, repeat not, respond to my main point, I will assume that I have won the argument and repeat the point here: ” … the USA would NOT have charged these guys IF they were Gambian citizens who tried to overthrow the Gambian Government. The USA would have given them asylum!”

        Have a nice day, and a nice week.

  4. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    By the way Bajaw, I have just seen Pa Mbai’s “Essay” where he claims the Feds are after him! Well, if they do nab him as an accessory the First Amendment will NOT save him … In the two weeks before the coup Pa Mbai proclaimed to the world what was gonna happen – and even played videos of Sedia Bayo asking for the overthrow of The Gambian government. If that is unlawful as the Feds say, then the First Amendment is no defence. Sorry Pa, just saving you legal fees and time – do plead guilty at the earliest moment if the Feds come for you (a couple of years in the slammer may infact give you a chance to read the dictionary end to end and improve your English Pa).

  5. The initial reaction given to this failed exercise in abject stupidity, from President Jammeh was to sight “Foreign Powers” as being behind the debacle….which he named as The USA, Germany and The United Kingdom.

    But this apparent “Gaff” was quickly recinded and changed by giving a very public and somewhat humble appology to Britain.

    I have always given Jammeh ample credit for being a smart guy, so I am sure his intelligence network must have some reason to advise Mr Jammeh, that this original statement must have come with some substance and credibility.

    I would also give much credit for the Gambian government, hitherto for turning this bloody mess into a highly successful International appeal for sympathy.

    The Americans for instance, have been left in a most challenging position, of “symbiotic condemnation”, simply because of its avowed war on anything remotely construed as being connected to terrorism.

    However, I think for any commentator, to sight any complicity in this debacle from any member of the online media, is tantamount to wreckless opportunism and missguided slander of the noble cause of Gambia’s exiled journalists.

    The Gambia’s men of words {not always to Oxford dictionery standards}…have provided the general public at large, access to many unreported dasterdly events, of torture, dissaperances and extra Judicial killings comitted in Gambia on President Jammeh’s watch. Some of these even proven by an independant ECOWAS court and staill awaiting the required responce of the APRC Government.

    Moreover, the truth remains that..
    ” you cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear”

    The “sows ear” remains the self perpetuating APRC, born from a bloodless military takeover by the same personel who are condemning the right of passage of this failed and ill concieved attempt… follow its predescessor of July 22nd 1994.

    Until and when, Gambia’s Opposition {either political or diasporan} are given equal opportunity to the basic democratic tools of collective thoughts, ideals and aspirations,Taken for granted by members of the APRC…..

    The struggle for Justice and Democracy will remain an open question.

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