Careful of what you read on this guy as its clear the West don't like him
DE-JA-VU: SIMILAR TO THE WONGA COUP?
The attempt by dissidents to overthrow Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on 30 December recalled another abortive putsch 10 years ago; the so-called Wonga Coup against Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Both were rather bizarre schemes plotted mainly from afar: the Wonga Coup from South Africa; the Gambia coup from the United States (US). The Equatorial Guinea plotters were the former British Special Forces soldier and later mercenary, Simon Mann, assisted by a South African counterpart, Nick du Toit.
In the Gambian gambit, their parts were played by 57-year-old Texas businessman Cherno Njie, and former US Air Force Sergeant Papa Faal, 46; both US citizens, though of Gambian origin.
In both there was also a hint or more than a hint of British involvement. In the Wonga Coup, apart from Mann, born in the United Kingdom (UK) though living in South Africa, it was the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s son, Mark. He was charged with supplying the coup plotters with an aircraft. The alleged complicity of Britons and Germans in the Gambian affair has yet to be illuminated.
And both appear to have been amateurish, clumsy and naïve efforts, resting on poor judgements about their targets and about African attitudes and therefore doomed to fail.
Mann and Du Toit seemed to make no real effort to hide their plans. They apparently believed that former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s government would turn a blind eye because it shared their opinion that Obiang was a reprehensible and brutal dictator whom Africa would be well rid of.
They seemed blind to the obvious truth – which should have been obvious from his Zimbabwe policy – that Mbeki and the continent as a whole, would tolerate any amount of oppressive African government rather than allow a bunch of mercenaries to change a regime. And so they were led into a trap.
Njie and Faal not dissimilarly believed that Jammeh’s presidential guards shared their views that the brutal dictator’s time had come and so would flee or join their democratic revolution after the first shot – into the air! – had been fired.
Instead the guards, apparently well looked after by their boss, returned volleys of lethal fire, killing several of the putschists and routing the rest. Incidentally, Faal returned to The Gambia by South African Airways, according an affidavit by the investigating FBI agent Nicholas Marshall, flying to Dakar, Senegal, and then travelling overland to Banjul.
In both cases, the governments of the countries from which the coups were plotted took legal action under similar laws. South Africa charged Thatcher for his alleged complicity under the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, which makes it an offence for a South African or foreign citizen to render foreign military assistance from within South Africa. Because of the looseness of the law, the state eventually entered a plea bargain with Thatcher to pay a fine and leave the country.
Simon Mann (L), the leader of the failed coup attempt on Equatorial Guinea, and his associates in custody in Zimbabwe. Photo: AFP/Getty
The US has charged Njie and Faal under the comparable Neutrality Act – dating back to 1794 – which forbids US citizens from launching ‘any military expedition or enterprise’ from US territory against ‘any foreign prince or state of whom the United States was at peace.’ Gambian dissidents living in the US have strongly protested this action by the US government, hailing Njie and Faal as liberation fighters and deploring what they see as Washington’s unwarranted support for Jammeh.
The involvement of the US citizens – and possibly others from the UK and Germany – has certainly lent convenient credence to Jammeh’s claim that this was not a coup attempt at all, but just an act of terrorism by foreign neo-colonial forces.
In fact, several former Gambian soldiers were also involved in the plot, according to news reports.
Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni, Office Head of the Institute of Security Studies in neighbouring Senegal, notes that the abortive coup served to demonstrate a point that analysts had been wondering about, that Jammeh’s presidential guard remained loyal to him when the chips were down.
And Jammeh has been crowing about the failure of the coup and boasting that no man or beast will ever remove him from power unless Allah gives the go-ahead. The man who claims to be able to cure Aids and exorcise devils will no doubt also see this as further proof of his magical powers.
SMH. NO PLASTIC SMILES