#02.5 Coup D’e-tat Email – Jan 17, 2000
17 January 2000 (My Journal Entry)
The sunset last night was nice but not best for a photo because of the clouds. I will try again on a clearer day. I drove out on the beach and turned around and came back because it was high tide and not much beach left. I’m afraid to drive in the water, even with 4-wheel drive. Then I went the high road above the beach and through a mob of teens and barely enough room to turn around. Another adventure. Think I ate at home for dinner.
Today was busy in office and running around, plus bank trip. Took my alien card back to the Alkalo so he could record the number. I took him a package of kola nuts and he said, “Ahh, the Gambian way to greet someone! Thank you.” Lunch & dinner at home today.
There was a rush of people out the highways and roads running from Banjul and saying there was a coup de tat. Well, an effort was being planned but was crushed this weekend. Here is my report to the email lists:
During this weekend a group of President Jammeh’s own personal guards were arrested or shot as they planned to overthrow The Gambian government.
Panic erupted today when a Lt. of the guard was being arrested in Banjul. He resisted arrest and ran into the famous Albert Market (packed with shoppers) followed by many soldiers. Rumors that this was “the coup de tat” underway, caused the one highway and bridge from Banjul Island to be packed by walkers and vehicles rushing away. (I almost went into Banjul today, but sent a worker instead. I missed all the action!) The Lt. was killed as he fired on the soldiers. On Saturday the Major of the guard who masterminded the whole conspiracy was killed in like manner at his home. Others have been wounded in the round-up of conspirators. The Secretary of State assures us, and the fleeing tourists, that there is no reason for alarm.
All of the Baptist missionaries are safe and as The Gambian tourism slogans says, “Gambia — No problem!”
As a “Warden” of the U.S. Embassy, I have called my list of eleven other U.S. citizens, comforting some, and giving the message that “there was indeed a coup attempt, but it failed. The ruckus downtown today was not a coup, but just an arrest. Please take normal precautions, review your security plan, and avoid large crowds.” This was my third time to make such a call. The other two were for New Years threats and an attempted takeover of the Central Bank.
Our neighbor, Guinea Bissau, is about to have elections after their latest coup and we pray that our missionaries can return there soon. We lost houses, vehicles and other property in that takeover. All missionaries had to evacuate quickly, leaving everything behind.
All is quiet in Ivory Coast and our missionaries never had to leave after that coup. Hey! Coups are the African way! You just live with it!
But do pray for all of West Africa; that things will settle down and we all can get to the “Main Thing” of representing Jesus. And a real newsletter will come soon! Don’t worry about us, God’s still in charge!
Next Issue: #03 – Jan 30, 2000
Some Responses to the Above Email
Next Issue: #03 – Jan 30, 2000