(AA) – The Justice Department on Monday filed a criminal complaint against two U.S. citizens for their involvement in a failed attempted coup in Gambia on Dec. 30.
Cherno Njie, 57, and Papa Faal, 46, are in custody and made brief court appearances in Baltimore and Minneapolis, respectively.
“These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of U.S. law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The United States strongly condemns such conspiracies. With these serious charges, the United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions.”
Faal is a dual U.S.-Gambian citizen and a resident of Minnesota, according to court documents.
Njie, a U.S. citizen of Gambian descent and a resident of Austin, Texas, is a businessman who served as financier and leader of the conspiracy.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki echoed Holder’s words and urged the Gambian government to respect human rights and the rule of law in its investigation.
“U.S. law enforcement action in this matter highlights the importance we place on preventing our citizens from taking part in violence of this nature overseas and our commitment to addressing such issues through the criminal justice system in accordance with our laws,” she said.