Yahya Jammeh: Gambia president 'home after coup plot'

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Media caption,

Peter Okwoche looks at Gambian President Yahya Jammeh

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has returned to the country after a reported coup attempt, sources say.

Heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in Banjul on Tuesday but officials say the military takeover was thwarted.

Details remain sketchy - an official told the BBC that everything had now returned to normal.

Mr Jammeh seized power in the tiny West African nation in 1994, and is accused of not tolerating any opposition.

Journalist Omar Wally told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that businesses had reopened, after closing on Tuesday.

He said military checkpoints had been set up at the Denton Bridge which links the island capital to the mainland and cars were being searched.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Banjul was deserted on Tuesday but businesses have now reopened

The pro-opposition Freedom newspaper reports that four people were killed, including the alleged ringleader Lamin Sanneh, a former head of the presidential guards, but this has not been confirmed.

Mr Jammeh was said to have been in either France or Dubai during Tuesday's unrest but different sources agree he has now returned.

Image source, AFP

Who is Yahya Jammeh?

Seized power in 1994, aged 29

Accused of stamping out opposition

Claims to be able to cure HIV/Aids

In 2011, told the BBC he would rule for "a billion years"

He has won several elections since seizing power but critics say they were neither free nor fair.

Numerous officials and opposition leaders have fled the country, saying they fear for their lives.

Apart from a short Atlantic coast, The Gambia is entirely surrounded by Senegal.

The main foreign-currency earners for the country of two million people are tourism and peanut exports.

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