ANOTHER wave of defection today hit the troubled Ethiopian Air Force once again as another military aircraft pilot have abandoned the regime and joined one of the armed opposition forces in exile.
The Amsterdam based Ethiopian Satellite Television ESAT, however, refrained from mentioning his name for safety reason but promised to report about it in detail very soon.
Meanwhile, ESAT today made public the names of the four Air Force pilots that defected to Kenya last week. Accordingly, they are named as 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 pilot Bruk Atnae.
ESAT also reported that all four are in good shape and safety in Kenya.
The high profile defection within the Air Force continues unabated while dwindling the country’s meager military aircraft inventory at an alarming rate.
Last October alone, Eight pilots crossed the Eritrean border with unspecified number of fighter jets to join the Ginbot 7 and EPPF armed opposition forces.
A similar defection of three high ranking pilots happened two weeks ago using a sophisticated MI-35 helicopter gunship to Eritrea that, in fact, forced the regime to level accusation against Eritrea for hijacking its military planes one after another.
Meanwhile, the three day forced evaluation sessions the regime conducted inside the Dire Dawa Air Force base following the disappearance of the four senior Air Force pilots to Kenya have been completed today.
During the evaluation, pilots, trainers, technicians and other staff members were being forced to reveal everything they knew about each disappearing pilots. “What do you say about the pilots that have disappeared?” many of them were asked and based on the responses of the pilots; the intelligence officers have been conducting further investigations.
The sources have said that most of the officials who took part in the evaluation sessions were very discontented. The situation in the premises has been strained that the employees were unable to carry out their duties calmly.
The staff members of the Force said the level of mistrust among the employees has reached its worst level.
The tsunami that currently engulfing the defunct Ethiopian Air Force have reached fever pitch. It seems like the Air Force is going to fall on its own sword.