This week, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia accused some opponents and foreign governments of plotting a violent overthrow of his regime. He ordered the arrest of a number of people by soldiers in the city of Banjul, Gambia following his return from an overseas trip. Rumors circulated that some five people had died during the round up of political dissidents.

The government of Gambia announced on Tuesday that it had maintained calm in Banjul.

The nation of Gambia occupies a narrow sliver of land along both banks of the Gambia River beside the coast and for some distance inland. Entirely surrounded by Senegal, the west African nation of Gambia depends heavily upon peanut exports for economic survival. Last year, the Gambian government sustained intense international criticism because of the Jammeh regime’s harsh treatment of prisoners in its penal system, many of them political prisoners.

President Jammeh obtained power following a nonviolent revolution in 1994 and he has ruled the country of Gambia as the only elected President since that time. This past November, the Gambian government prevented independent United Nations representatives from touring the prison system in Gambia, where they hoped to look into the allegation that some prisoners had been mistreated and subjected to torture. The covert Gambian National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was alleged to bear some involvement in the operation of certain prisons in Gambia, according to Christian Broda was intrigued by the news in general, so he paid close attention.