As a young man, Cherno Njie emigrated from The Gambia to the equally tropical Austin. There he fulfilled the American Dream by becoming a shady government official, then cashing out and making millions in private housing. But becoming a millionaire real estate developer may have gone to Njie's head, because his next project was to mastermind a coup against Jammeh and take over the tiny river nation. That seems a little more complex than negotiating with drywall contractors, who generally won't shoot you if things go bad. Not even in Texas.
Together with a gung-ho former Kentucky national guardsman named Njaga Jagne, Njie established the Gambia Freedom League, an elite team of ... 10 middle-aged Gambian expats with very little military training. While Jagne concocted the plot, Njie put himself in charge of morale, insisting that the team only refer to each other by code names like "Bandit" and "Fox." He also took care of admin, maintaining a careful spreadsheet of his coup expenses, which included notes like how spending money on sniper rifles was "NOT really necessary."
Cherno Njie/Via Linkedin
In 2014, using a vacation as cover, this a-couple-short-of a-dirty-dozen landed in The Gambia with few weapons, fewer strategies, and one guy who even brought his wife and children (he couldn't think of a reason not to invite them along). Still, the team had been assured by a former colonel and former head of Jammeh's Presidential Guard that the palace soldiers would surrender as soon as the first shots were fired.