Gambia's ruler names new justice minister after coup bid

The relatives of a failed coup involving an attack against the presidential palace in Banjul while President Yahya Jammeh was in Dubai are released (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday appointed Mama Fatima Singhateh as attorney general and minister of justice, the latest change in the top ranks of the government after an attempted coup.

Singhateh's nomination comes after higher education minister Aboubacar Senghore was named to the job last week as part of a second broad reshuffle of the government in less than a fortnight.

No reason was given for the successive changes, which come after the presidential guard on December 30 put down a bid to seize power blamed mainly on ex-servicemen from the Gambian and US armed forces while Jammeh was in Dubai.

Gambia's capital, Banjul, has been on lockdown since the leader of 20 years returned and vowed to hunt down those behind the attempt, blaming a foreign-backed "terrorist group".

The US has charged two men with conspiring to overthrow Gambia's government.

Basirou Mahoney, the justice minister during the coup, was removed from his duties last week. His replacement, Senghore, was not a trained lawyer however -- a requirement to be minister of justice under the constitution.

In a separate development, former managing director of the Daily Observer Newspaper, Modou Saidy, was appointed director of programmes of the state owned national television.