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He served as prime minister from 1962 until 1970; after the country abolished the monarchy, he became president on April 24, 1970. The Gambia under Jawara was notably democratic in comparison with most of post-independence Africa.
In mid-1981, he was nearly overthrown in a bloody coup attempt that was eventually suppressed only with the aid of Senegalese troops. On July 22, 1994, a second coup attempt led by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh was successful, and Jawara went into exile until 2002.
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