US Denies Any Role in Gambia Violence

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The United States on Thursday denied it had any role in an apparent coup attempt in The Gambia, after the African nation's leader Yahya Jammeh blamed the attack on foreign dissidents.

"The US government had no role in the events that took place in Banjul," a US State Department official said.

"The United States strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means."

Jammeh, who was visiting Dubai at the time of Tuesday's attack, blamed foreign dissidents and "terrorists" for the assault on his presidential palace. He denied it was an attempt to unseat him.

"It is an attack by dissidents based in the US, Germany and UK," Jammeh said.

"This was not a coup. This was an attack by a terrorist group backed by some powers that I would not name."

A group of heavily armed men led by an army deserter attacked the presidential palace but were repelled by forces loyal to Jammeh.

The State Department said the US embassy in Banjul would be open Friday.

"We continue to call on the government of The Gambia to respect human rights and democratic values in the country," the official said.

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