Semafor LogoAlexander Onukwue
Alexander Onukwue

Gambia says it has foiled a coup attempt by some soldiers

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An attempted coup aimed at removing Gambian President Adama Barrow has been foiled, the west African country's government said on Wednesday. Four soldiers allegedly involved in the attempt were arrested by Gambian Armed Forces High Command on Tuesday (Dec. 20) after “a swift military operation” with three more still sought after, the government said.

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A spate of military coups have taken place in West Africa in the last 18 months in Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso earlier this year. A failed coup attempt was reported in Guinea Bissau in February, in which the government said mutinous soldiers were killed.

While each coup has been tied to local circumstances, analysts point to political instability and economic difficulty as common triggers in the affected countries.

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A country of about 2 million people encircled by Senegal, The Gambia returned to democratic norms after longtime hardline ruler Yahya Jammeh lost to Barrow in the 2016 elections. Barrow was re-elected for a second term last December but a survey of citizens before the polls reported dissatisfaction with living conditions compared to previous years. A majority of respondents said the country was headed in the wrong direction, according to the survey by polling company Afrobarometer.