Gambia rocked by shooting while Jammeh abroad

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh speaks to journalists on 24 November 2011

Heavy gunfire has erupted near the presidential palace in The Gambia’s capital, Banjul, reports say.

Details are sketchy but military and diplomatic sources say soldiers from the presidential guard tried to stage a coup, AFP news agency reports.

The fighting was reported while President Yahya Jammeh is abroad.

Mr Jammeh seized power in a coup in 1994 and his critics accuse him of leading one of the most repressive regimes in Africa.

There has been no official comment on the shooting, but a military source told AFP that the attackers had been beaten back.

“They wanted to overthrow the regime,” the unnamed officer is quoted as saying.

Some media reports say Mr Jammeh is on a visit to France, while others say he is in Dubai.

In 2011, Mr Jammeh told the BBC he would rule The Gambia for “a billion years”.

The tiny West African state, with its sandy beaches, is a popular tourist destination.

source : BBC News