Eritrean air force pilots, named Mebrahtu Tesfamariam and Afework fissehaye, have defected on Wednesday by flying their military aircraft Zlin-143-102 to Ethiopia’s northern city, Mekelle, sources disclosed to Awramba times.
This is not the first time for Eritrean air force members to defect to the neighboring nations.
In 2012, two Eritrean military pilots secretly flew President Isaias Afewerki’s plane to Saudi Arabia where they sought political asylum. A year after this incident, three other members of the Eritrean air force have defected with their fighter jet to Saudi Arabia. In April the same year, another female Eritrean air force pilot sent by the regime to retrieve the stolen jet from Saudi Arabia herself was defected.
As no Eritrean pilot has yet made his route to Ethiopia, the pilots who defected to Ethiopia today are the first ever Eritrean air force members to make the neighboring Ethiopia a destination of their defection.