Gumii Paarlaamaa Oromoo (GPO)
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Possible failed coup attempt in Eritrea
CBS News (January 21, 2013)
More than 100
dissident soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information in the small
East African nation of
The soldiers held all of the ministry workers – including the daughter of the president – in a single room, said Leonard Vincent, author of the book “The Eritreans” and co-founder of a Paris-based Eritrean radio station. The soldiers’ broadcast on state TV said the country’s 1997 constitution would be reinstated and all political prisoners freed, but the broadcast was cut off after only two sentences were read and the signal has been off air the rest of the day, Vincent said.
afternoon there were indications the soldiers’ attempt would fail. A
military tank sat in front of the Ministry of Information but the
streets of the capital,
Vincent stopped short of calling it a coup d’etat and said it wasn’t immediately clear if the action was a well-organized coup attempt or what he called a “kamikaze crash.”
government soldiers surrounded the ministry, an indication the
action by the dissident soldiers had failed, said Martin Plaut, a
fellow at the
“It looks like it’s an isolated attempt by some soldiers who are completely frustrated by what is going on. But it wasn’t done in a coordinated manner,” Plaut said. “They did seize the television station, they did manage to put this broadcast out, but the government is still functioning calmly. There is nothing on the streets.”
If the power grab attempt by the dissident soldiers fails, they are likely in for severe punishments, Vincent and Plaut said.
“People call it the North Korea of Africa and that is accurate, so you either win or you’re dead, and I think these people are dead,” Plaut said. “One can’t be absolutely sure but that’s what it looks like.”
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