Andrew Rice in The Guardian:
After the coup failed, the raids began. On New Year’s Day this year, FBI agents descended on a blue split-level house in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the dead of night, near Austin, Texas, they searched a million-dollar lakeside villa. Agents interrogated an activist at his house in the working-class town of Jonesboro, Georgia. At a rundown townhouse development in Lexington, Kentucky, they found the wife of a US soldier, with a refrigerator full of her husband’s favourite Gambian delicacies – dishes prepared for a triumphant homecoming and repurposed for mourning.
When the employees of Songhai Development, an Austin building firm, arrived at work on Monday 5 January, they discovered the FBI had visited their offices over the weekend and seized all the company’s computers. The company’s owner, Cherno Njie, was spending the holidays in west Africa. But Doug Hayes, who managed construction for Njie, expected his boss back at any moment – they had an apartment project that was about to face an important zoning commission hearing.
“I guess he really had a two-track mind,” Hayes said in May, with a rueful laugh, over lunch at his favourite Texas barbecue joint. “He had that going, and he also wanted to be president of the Gambia.”
By the end of that Monday, Njie’s name was all over the international news. He had been arrested as he got off a plane at Dulles international airport near Washington DC, and charged with organising a failed attempt to overthrow Yahya Jammeh, the military ruler of the Gambia, a slender riverine nation of fewer than 2 million people. One alleged co-conspirator, a Gambian who had served with the US army, had already confessed to US investigators, telling them he was one of a small group of men from the diaspora who had taken part in a botched nighttime attack in December on Jammeh’s residence.
More here. [Thanks to Margit Oberrauch.]