More than 40 members of the troubled Ethiopian Air Force have reportedly fled the country.
Sources close to the Washington basedEthiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) today reports that a number of staff members from the Debre Zeyit Air force headquarters along with 14 aircraft techniciansand unspecified number of pilots didn’t show up for work for the past one month.
The technicians were from the transport and tactical helicopter squadron unit, SU27 fighter jets units andAntonov 12 transporter units.
The Ethiopian Air Force in recent times had suffered with a series of high profile defections of its qualified manpower as well as inventory of its military aircraft.
At the beginning of this year, four Air force pilots, namely, MIG-23 fighter jet pilot Captain Gezakegn Derese; MI-35 Helicopter pilot Captain Daniel Girma; MI-35 Helicopter pilot Lieutenant Masresha Sette, and MI-35 Helicopter pilotBruk Atnae, have defected to Kenya.
These waves of defections are telling signs that the Ethiopian government’s reliance on ethnic based policies and coercive institutions to continue its grip on power are reaching their limits.
The now lame duck Air force was once a pride to the Ethiopian people.