Gambia accuses US, UK of attempt to topple govt.
Gambia has accused the United States and Britain of fomenting multiple coup attempts and supporting the opposition in a bid to topple President Yahya Jammeh and destabilize the country.
"These two western powers have continued in their relentless efforts to destabilize this country, desperately using every means possible from sponsoring coup plots to financing the opposition and mounting a vigorous smear campaign," Gambian Minister for Presidential Affairs Momodou Sabally said in a statement read on national TV late on Tuesday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Sabally accused the US and Britain of sponsoring a 1995 coup and said Gambia would not surrender its mineral resources to "old vampires and present-day locusts."
Jammeh took control of the country in a bloodless military coup in July 1994, and was elected president in September 1996.
As evidence of an alleged plot, Sabally cited a proposed maritime security agreement with the United States that was recently rejected by Gambia for seeking "total control and exploitation of Gambia's territorial waters."
The British High Commission to Gambia said on Wednesday that Britain had never acted to destabilize the country.
The accusations come less than a week after the Gambian government announced it was withdrawing from the Commonwealth, saying it would "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution."
"(The) government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism," the government said in a statement issued on October 2.
The Commonwealth, a collection of 54 nations made up largely of former British colonies, was formally established by the London Declaration in 1949.
Gambia, a country in West Africa, is a tiny sliver of land wedged into Senegal.