Senior UN official condemns recent attempt to seize power in The Gambia

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Mohamed Ibn Chambas. © UN Photo/Loey Felipe

2 January 2015 – The top United Nations official in West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, today condemned the recent attempt to seize power through unconstitutional means in The Gambia.

“As an Organization whose primary objective is the maintenance of peace and security, the UN does not condone attempts to upset constitutional order,” said Mr. Chambas, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

In a news release issued in Dakar, Senegal, Mr. Chambas also reiterated the fact that the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had ‘zero tolerance’ policies towards coups d’états on the continent.

The coup attempt took place on 30 December while President Yahya Jammeh was out of the country, according to press reports, with gunfire heard near the presidential palace in the capital of Banjul. Mr. Jammeh since returned, with media suggesting the coup attempt was thwarted and “calm” restored in the city.

“I urge the Gambian authorities, particularly security and defence forces, to ensure that the investigations are conducted in full respect of human rights and regular legal process,” said Mr. Chambas, who is scheduled to visit the country.