The Gambia op in the rear-view
Back in 2014, a group of four American citizens with ties to the West African country of The Gambia decided to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, whose official state website at the time listed him as “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh,” among other titles.
The would-be revolutionaries had military backgrounds to one degree or another to include one, Papa Faal, 47, of Minnesota, who was a long-time veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force that included recent combat service in Afghanistan.
The plot involved shipping semi-auto AR-15s, NVGs and assorted sundry banana republic gear to Africa secreted in 55-gal drums.
Once on the ground, Faal led ground assault team of a two other Americans and dozen ethnic Gambians from the UK and Germany in an attack on the Presidential Palace that was supposed to be supported by a sympathetic company of Gambian troops.
Well, the turncoats never turned and Faal and the boys were left assed-out, only barely managing to break off the attack and beat feet out of the country, leaving most of their comrades and two shot up rental cars behind.
Back in the U.S., Faal and three men were quickly charged in 2015 with Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act and Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. In the end, they plead guilty and in exchange picked up paperweight sentences of between six months and 366 days in federal prison–except for Papa Faal who got off with time served.
But the FBI just released more information on the story here, including some great images.
In their investigation, agents identified more than 20 weapons purchased by Americans. They also examined the cars used in the attack as well as the safe houses, and they took DNA samples from the two dead Americans.
But the whole thing started off like a page from a Mack Bolan book:
Two Americans were killed in the failed coup on December 30, 2014. The next day, distraught Gambian-American Papa Faal entered the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Senegal.
“He said, ‘I need to get back to the United States. The Gambians are looking for me,’” said Special Agent Jeffrey Van Nest from the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office. “When embassy staff asked why Faal said he was part of the attempted coup. That’s when we got involved.”