Gambian Troops Hunt for Coup Plotters

Gambian Troops Hunt for Coup PlottersGambian Troops Hunt for Coup Plotters

Gambian security forces went door-to-door in the capital Banjul in search of participants in a failed coup against the West African country's strongman President Yahya Jammeh, residents said.

Witnesses said the troops, who also set up checkpoints on roads leading out of the coastal city, were searching for suspects from Tuesday's assault on the presidential palace, AFP reported Saturday. The attack, which was repelled by the security forces, took place while Jammeh was on a private visit to Dubai, diplomatic and military sources said.

"Gambian soldiers carrying guns are conducting a house-to-house," a woman living in Banjul told AFP, asking not to be identified. "They believe the attackers are still hiding in the capital."

Meanwhile, Jammeh has blamed dissidents based in the US, Germany and the UK for the attack. Jammeh seized power in the tiny West African nation in 1994, and is accused of not tolerating any opposition. The president denied that the attack was mounted by sections of the Gambian military.

"The Gambian armed forces are very loyal as far as we are concerned - there isn't any single participation of the armed forces except nullifying the attack," he said in a television interview. "So this cannot be called a military coup - this was an attack by a terrorist group backed by some powers that I would not name."

The US government has denied that it had any role in the alleged coup attempt. UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an investigation into the attack and urged the government and security forces in Banjul to "act in full respect of human rights".