By our Correspondent
From reports reaching us, a sister of the alleged ringleader of a failed coup attempt in The Gambia has called for his release, saying he was not involved in any plot to topple President Adama Barrow’s government.
At the instance of a coup attempt, Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera was arrested a week ago after the government accused him of masterminding an attempted coup.
Also, two more officers were detained over the weekend, the government said.
And this brings to seven the number of arrests over the alleged plot.
Meanwhile, none of the accused has as yet been charged to court.
In a special BBC interview, Alia Fadera, the eldest sister of the lance-corporal, said he could not have plotted a coup, as he was only a medic in the navy with no access to weapons or influence in the military.
According to her, “Since my brother’s arrest, we have not heard from him and we are worried.”
Thereafter, Mrs Fadera said the military had detained her brother at his workplace in the capital, Banjul, before bringing him to their village in Kiang Nema, 155km (96 miles) away.
She stated that, “His house and farm were searched by the military but no weapon was found.”
Again, Mrs Fadera said her brother had lived in the village with his wife and four children, who were devastated by the allegation against him.
He travelled to and from work daily and ran a reptile farm in his spare time.
She explained that, “The entire village is surprised and when the military truck came, most of the villagers came out to see what was happening. I’m calling on the authorities to release my brother.”
In the meantime, the government named the latest officers to be arrested as Capt Ebrima Baldeh, from the military intelligence unit, and Lt Omar Colley, from the First Infantry Battalion.
Additionally, the government statement added that a panel would be established to carry out a full investigation into the alleged coup plot.
Interestingly, The Gambia is a largely stable country in West Africa which is popular with holidaymakers because of its beaches and wildlife.
However, life has continued normally since the government said that it had foiled a coup attempt last Tuesday.
Imperatively, President Barrow first took office after a shock victory over long-time ruler Yahya Jammeh in elections in 2016.
At this time, Mr. Jammeh’s 22-year rule was marked by state repression and human rights abuses.
The ex-president then went into exile in Equatorial Guinea after his defeat, though he remains an influential figure in The Gambia.
Since then, President Barrow has been distrustful of the military, with troops from neighbouring Senegal in charge of his personal security, while the main international airport and sea port are guarded by troops from Nigeria and Ghana respectively.
Thus, this has made him unpopular with many Gambians, who feel that he has undermined the country’s sovereignty by relying on foreign forces.