Both men are charged with violating the Neutrality Act, a law that dates from 1794 that makes it illegal for Americans to take up arms against a foreign government with which the U.S. is at peace. Both men appeared in federal court on Monday. Information on their attorneys wasn’t immediately available.
Mr. Faal told the FBI he had served in the U.S. Army and Air Force and that he decided to join the coup because he thought elections were rigged and he was concerned over the “plight of the Gambian people,” according to the affidavit.
Mr. Njie, who is of Gambian descent, led the group of about a dozen people in an attempt to restore democracy to the country, according to the FBI agent’s testimony in the affidavit. The group hoped to take control peacefully, but they thought 160 members of the country’s military would join them.
During the fall, Mr. Faal and co-conspirators bought guns, ammunition and other equipment at shops in the U.S. and shipped it to Gambia, according the affidavit. As they prepared, members of the group shared an “operations plan” that was stored online.