The Eritrean “Coup” That Never Was

We have unflinching commitment to the unity and soverignity of the country entrusted by our Martyrs
We have unflinching commitment to the unity and soverignity of the country entrusted by our Martyrs

By Thomas C Mountain,

The New York Times and its cult followers in the American media, amongst others, manufactured an attempted “coup” that never happened in the small East African country of Eritrea.

The story of this “attempted coup” began last Monday morning, January 21 in a small garrison base south of here when three disgruntled officers told their command that they were being transferred to the capital Asmara to guard the Ministry of Information. Excited to be leaving their remote location for life in the capital the citizen soldiers in the command packed their bags, loaded their two tanks on to their trailers, saddled up and headed for the big city.

Several hours later the unit arrived at the unguarded gates of the Eritrean Ministry of Information, unloaded their tanks and, according to neighbors, proceeded to engage in boisterous horseplay on and around their equipment.

In the meantime the three miscreant officers barged their way into the television studios of Eritrean TV and waving a pistol around demanded a political screed be read over the air.

A quick thinking technician in the broadcast system quickly cut of the signal and their plan was suddenly still born.

In the meantime the youngsters in their command outside began to get wind that something was wrong, and when they found out what was going on inside the EriTV studios they “mutinied”, as in stopped obeying their commanding officers orders which eventually included a command for them to open fire on their fellow Eritreans.

Seeing that the jig was up the three “mutineers” absconded on foot from the Ministry escaping down the cliffs behind the old “Forto”, once the headquarters for the Italian Colonial Army in Eritrea.

All’s well that ends well and the three “mutinous” officers  were duly found and arrested. The “mutinous” national service citizen soldiers were taken out to a very tasty dinner at the Malobar restaurant (quite a treat for troops used to a diet of sorghum, chick peas and lentils), spent the night in the daKorea apartments were they enjoyed hot showers, clean sheets and comfortable beds for a change. The next day they and their tanks returned to their base with a well deserved thanks from the countries leaders.

The moral of the story is that the reality on the ground here in Eritrea is that the military is composed of citizen soldiers, not the “professional” i.e. mercenary armies found in most of the rest of Africa. Our youth are all required to participate in the National Service program and paid salary for their services.

In other words, they see their national service, no matter the difficult conditions or seemingly endless term of service as their patriotic duty.

Being that the Ethiopian army launched division scale attacks (a division is made up of some 5,000 soldiers) at least three times in 2012 alone their families here in Eritrea really need them to keep us safe from invasion by the notoriously brutal Ethiopian military camped out 500,000 strong on our borders.

The whole description of this  incident, what I have described as “a tempest in a teapot”, as an attempted “coup” by some of the truth challenged western media is made moot when anyone familiar with the streets of Asmara will tell you that to get to the hill top Ministry of Information, one first has to drive past the Office of the President.

To most Eritreans, 90% or more, and especially so amongst the youth doing their national service, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is Eritrea’s George Washington, as in “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.

You don’t have to take my word for this, all you have to do is visit Eritrea during the carnival week leading up to Independence Day celebrations in May (like award winning producer Afshin Rattansi and his film crew did in 2012) and see for yourself the 100,000 and more young people partying in the streets, almost all of who are doing their national service duty. Not a firearm in sight, not a fight to be seen, and the President himself walking down the middle of the street at the height of the party surrounded by tens of thousands of his country’s youth.

I don’t think any Eritrean familiar with the reality here, especially amongst the youth, would ever imagine a coup being possible. Even if a group of officers were to try such they would quickly find that the citizen soldiers in the Eritrean military would quickly “mutiny” as was the case in the “tempest in a teapot” on Jan. 21, the coup that never happened.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com. 


16 thoughts on “The Eritrean “Coup” That Never Was

  1. Thomas mountain, Man of the highest integrity and the seeker of truth and justic. When the right time comes, along many others, he need to be honoured in the best possible way for his tirless work defending and speaking out on behave of Eritrea. He is a hero to us all.

    Well, in less that 10 hours time I will be boarding a Lufthansa flight bound for Asmara. The purpose of my trip isn't just to visit family and enjoy all Eritrea has to offer, but also to look for investment opportunity in a view to setting up a small business that would help our people. Lets us all give this a consideration.

    Lets fight the good fight

  2. Glad to see Thomas Mountains input to this whole drama. Thanks Thomas for giving the world what the truth is even if we all the true eritreans knew the truth wasn't what the BBC and AFP tried to tell us.

    Thanks again.

  3. Winners always stand with the truth
    thankyou Mr. Thomas u did great job
    tell the world the real Eritrean we love
    our country and the gov…!
    We know where stand …!!!

  4. Mr Mountain – a mountain thanks – you're unique, real professional with unblemished journalism and highest possible integrity. Eritrean people owe you a lot…
    Peace from London

    1. Just wondering what does Eritrea owe him….? He should be grateful he is enjoying the fruits of Eritrea he is only showing his expression because of how good he has it today as he lives amongst us Eritreans we will see how long he will last and what he will inject in our region. Where was he when the sky was doomed with ashes of smoke during our liberation? Time will tell because the same could have been said about Dan Connell back in the days. Just saying Eritrean people never Kneel down……..just enjoy the fruits of sacrifice.

      1. Nebsi, make up your mind. who cares what was said about Dan Connell back in the 80s or 90s. Thomas has been saying all the stuff he has been saying free of charge, not like the other mercenaries who act like they are journalists. If we would pay them what they are being paid by Enemies of the eritrean people, they would say things whatever we want them to say unfortunately our people and government are not in the bandwagon of false information instead they are building eritrea from the ground up and we don't need anyone to tell us about nothing, as true Eritreans we should go and see it via our own eyes.

  5. Indeed Everythink you said is true! actually many of us were waiting for your articles.
    Viva Warsay Yikallo!
    Viva Thomas Mountain!
    Viva Eritrea! and Viva Isayas Afewerki !

  6. @Nebsi…..what is your problem with Thomas Mountain’s reportage that destroyed the mountain of lies of enemies of our country……..
    Btw, Thanks for bursting your own bubbles……Kkkkkkk!!!!…..
    @Thomas …..You are, indeed, a breath of fresh air in a middle of a smoke screen of the corrupt corporate mainstream media circus…….
    Thanks for bursting their bubbles(particularly Plaut’s plot & the parroting of the rest)……

  7. Good tesfanews, now it is official! Thomas Mountan is not an independent journalist as some would like to say. He is a mouthpiece of the PFDJ. It is like hearing Eri-TV just a little more lighter completion.

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