Eritrea ”Coup” Was A Hoax

The people of Eritrea, Muslim and Christian alike all worked, fought and died for the revolution. It is sad that the revolution has not been inclusive of all aspects of society post independence however that is an internal issue to be decided by us as Eritreans.

The differences between Pro-and Anti government supporters must be swept aside at such a critical junction in our history. Outside forces are evidently conspiring against our great nation. Now is the time for unity not division and that is not to say grievances are swept under the rug, but rather they should come to the forefront in a manner that befits our rich heritage. 

Too many a time our arguments against the government are clouded with anger and ego. We are well aware of the lessons learned from nations surrounding us and also on the continent, how will we move forward is the question to be asked.

It starts with something as simple as coffee house meetings. Our land is bigger than us all if we truly love it we will protect it from ANY outside interference. We must never allow foreign intervention in our land be it direct or as the case shows indirect.

Let us not have selective memories, the empire cares not for our well-being, the empire only looks out for its self-preservation. With privatization and opening up of investment let us build and invest whilst coming to a unified political outlook…

Or else we shall perish in the balkanisation of the horn of AFRICAImage

Quick facts:

*Léonard Vincent started the false coup rumor (see picture below)

*Martin Plaut helped spread his rumor to every major news agency

*No coup was attempted in Eritrea

*No shots were fired in Asmara

*No Mutiny or hostage situation

How the bogus coup story began

Yesterday morning, Léonard Vincent, a longtime Eritrean critic, author, and co-owner of a Paris-based ‘Eritrean opposition’ radio network, tweeted in French that 100 Eritrean soldiers were staging a coup d’état in Asmara and claimed that it would be a ‘long’ day, presumably, for the Eritrean government.

Immediately following his tweet, BBC correspondent Martin Plaut, who is outspoken critic of Eritrea and an Ethiopian regime sympathizer, gave Léonard’s claim attention by seeking confirmation and retweeting disinformation from an individual who didn’t even live in Eritrea.

In order to keep the flame of disinformation alive, Martin would go on to make a series of ‘unconfirmed’ tweets, such as this absurd claim that said the Eritrean President was apprehended by renegades.

How the unfounded coup rumor gained ‘legitimacy’.

Shortly afterwards, the AFP gave hollow legitimacy to Léonard’s unfounded claim by adding their own spin to it. Instead of 100 renegades, the Paris-based news agency multiplied by 2 and said 200 Eritrean mutineers were attempting a coup and added stories of tanks, defections, and quotes by an Ethiopian-funded website to paint a negative and extremely distorted narrative about Eritrea for its readers.

Eritrean army tanks besieged the information ministry in central Asmara on Monday after some 200 mutineers seized the building.

Not to be outdone, the Associated Press, the Goliath of all news agencies, picked up Léonard’s claims and added the president’s daughter, Elsa Isaias, who works at the Ministry of Information building (known locally as Forto), was in custody by the hostage takers.

More than 100 dissident soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information in the small East African nation of Eritrea on Monday and read a statement on state TV saying the country’s 1997 constitution would be put into force, two Eritrea experts said. 

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 AP goes on to interview Martin, a man who has never set foot inside Eritrea, to describe a situation he admittedly had no knowledge of. Despite this fact, Martin, along with Léonard, were dubbed as the “Eritrea experts” by the AP.

More concerning, however, was how both of them ignored tweets by Eritreans living in Asmara, who said no coup had taken place in Eritrea. Instead of engaging with these Eritreans who knew the reality of the situation better than anyone, they conveniently dismissed them and continued to sell their sensational story of a coup that never was.

Rahel Weldeab, an Eritrean who moved from San Diego, California to Asmara a few years back, wrote this about the coup hoax:

Similarly, Semere H., a young entrepreneur who moved to Asmara from New York over a year ago, had this to say:

A number of Eritreans who phoned their loved ones received similar information, too. They tweeted that no coup attempt took place and the city was calm and normal, despite the media hyping up a coup story.

So why did Martin and Léonard break journalistic norms by ignoring the numerous credible tweets from Eritreans living in Asmara that said there was no coup? Sirak Bahlbi from Sweden seems to have the most rational answer for this:

In response to Martin and other western journalists ignoring her reliable claims, tekereb tweeted:

Fed up by the politically-motivated disinformation Martin and Leonard were spreading, Filmon Zerai, an Eritrean activist living in the United States, suggested an investigation should be launched for their abuse of journalistic ethics.

By this point, it was becoming apparent to most rational people that the fictional coup story was a farce and journalists who invested their reputations and egos were hastily trying to repackage the coup that never was as the coup that ‘failed’. Asmarinos, who are known for their sense of humor, began to poke fun at these sloppy journalists for their false reporting.

In response to their bogus claims of tanks being on the streets of Asmara, Tekereb wrote:

After one American tweeted he was doubting this ‘coup’ story, Semere, who lives not too far from the MoI building, jokingly tweeted back the following conversation:



Even Dan Connell, who was one of the original sources of this coup hoax, has finally admitted there was never a coup attempt in Eritrea. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post:

“I think we’ve over interpreted what happened on Monday. I don’t think it was ever a coup…..I don’t think they were trying to seize power. I don’t think they made any demands in that direction.”



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