Federal prosecutors Monday charged a Texas businessman who allegedly wanted to be the president of Gambia with conspiring with a former U.S. Army sergeant and others to orchestrate a deadly coup attempt in the tiny African nation last week.

The handful of coup plotters headed and bankrolled by housing developer Cherno Njie, 57, of Austin, had expected presidential palace guards to flee at a shot in the air when they attacked on Dec. 30, according to a federal complaint.

But guards returned fire, killing one group of attackers, and sympathetic Gambian soldiers failed to show up as expected. The rest of the 10 to 12 conspirators fled, their hopes shattered for a bloodless overthrow of President Yahya Jammeh and a restoration of democracy, the court document said.