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From the Publisher
In Abate Yachin Seat, Derege narrates that story of his late father, Major General Demissie Bulto. Maj. Gen Demissie, among the best and ablest commanders of the modern Ethiopian military. He commanded one of the largest army units in Africa, Ethiopia’s Second Revolutionary Army stationed in Eritrea before the coup of 1989. The book gives a rare insight into the inner circle of the top army commanders as well as their often-acrimonious relationship with the lower ranking officers who comprised the ruling military junta led by Lt. Col. Mengistu Hailemariam.
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The story Derege narrates, is at once a story of personal courage and conviction as well as the moral dilemma inherent in war. Fed up with the tyrannical ruler who continually ignored their informed and professional counsel to institute crucial policy changes to end the war in the North and the government’s refusal to seek political solution to the internal problems the country faced, three high-ranking officers decided to design a daring plot to overthrow the government. These officers were: Maj. Gen. Merid Negussie, the Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Fanta Belay, the Minister of Industry and former Commander of the Air force, and Maj. Gen. Demissie Bulto, the Commander of the more than 200,000 strong Second Revolutionary Army. They convinced many others to join them and attempted the May 89 coup d’etat against the brutal dictator who ruled Ethiopia for fifteen years.
Like all good works of literature, the book has a quality of keeping one in suspense. It narrates the intricacies of the plot from many angles based on eyewitness accounts, interviews with key individuals who were involved in the coup attempt, and a 17 years of research from various published and unpublished sources including information obtained from the United states Department of State through the Freedom of Information Act.
When the attempt organized at the capital city failed in the first day of the coup, Gen. Demissie continued the effort in Asmara, then Ethiopia’s second largest city. For three days, Gen. Demissie continued his call for the end of dictatorship and for the formation of a representative government. The EPLF agreed to a 15-day cease-fire and preparations were underway to send troops to the Capital to crush the Palace Guard that was protecting the dictator. It was a daring plan, but one with increasingly diminishing chance of success. Yet, Gen. Demissie chose to fight to the end instead of boarding one the many planes under his control at the Asmara Air force base and saving his life. At that critical hour, Derege intimately examines the intense challenges his father faced and the personal courage he displayed.
The book also contains a daily diary of Gen. Demissie Bulto taken during two of the most successful campaigns waged against the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in then Northern Ethiopia. Zemecha Bahire Negash and Key Bahir Zemecha were often singled out for the sophistication of their planning and operation. Gen. Demissie, who was temporarily transferred from his position as head of the First Army in Harar, was assigned as the head of the Armed Forces Coordinating Committee that planned and executed the two campaigns. The daily notes the General took provide a detailed account of the coordination, planning, and the actual battles fought against EPLF forces that were entrenched in the town of Barentu and the mountains of Nakfa.
The diary also includes details of the Key Bahir campaign, the last major effort to cease control of the EPLF headquarters at Nakfa. Gen. Demissie’s notes give rare insight into how the ground forces, the Airborne, the Navy, and the Air force collaborated in this campaign as well as the many logistical and structural challenges they faced.
Abate Yachin Seat is a gem, a rare literary work that blends fidelity to accurate depiction of events with a writing style that captivates the reader like a superb novel.
Aesop Publishers and Distributors: 202-386-3037
The book is a total of 431 pages.
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