A Death Sentence on Air Force Pilots

Meles Zenaiw’s Kangaroo Court Martial

Report by Neamin Zeleke – Credible sources inside the TPLF controlled Defense establishment have recently disclosed that the regime appointed court marital has passed  a death sentence verdict on four Air force pilots who fled the country and decided to seek asylum in 2007.   According to the sources, a TPLF appointed military court at the Air Force has passed a “guilty” verdict and a death sentence in absentia on Captain Samuel Getachew, Lt. Himanot Gebre Mariam, Lt. Fikresleasie Feleke, and Lt, Yitabrek Takele.

At the present , the four officers  in exile are  anxiously waiting for a speedy resettelement to another country. As well known, the regime’s military machinery has been plagued with series of defections from within its various branches and ranks. During the last several years, senior officers such as Generals, Colonels, Lt. Colonels, as well as scores of junior officers,  NCOs, and privates within the TPLF controlled and led military, including once known as one of the best in Africa , the now tattered ,  Air Force have fled the country, seeking asylum in various countries.

It is also to be recalled that few weeks after the fraudulent national election of 2005 and the terror and blood bath that was unleashed by Meles Zenawi special security forces against an unarmed Ethiopians who were peacefully protesting the massive electoral fraud at the time, Lt. Behailu Gebre and Lt. Abiyot Manguday fled to Djibouti , flying a Fighter Chopper. Ethiopians made an organized and vigorous attempt to rescue these gallant officers away from  clear and present  danger they  faced while they remained Djibouti.  Reversing the initial promise it gave to provide them with protection ,  the Government of President Omar Gulleh   engaged in flagrant  violation  of all international conventions  and protocols that accord protection and status to political  refugees. It conspired in a   kidnapping operation by special security sent for such a nefarious mission by Meles Zenawi himslef. As reported back then by credible sources, after their forceful return, Lt Behailu and Lt Abiyot   were subjected to  cruel and  inhuman condition, being tortured somewhere  within the Air force Base at Debre Zeit . To this date the exact status of both officers — dead or alive — remain unknown to their loved ones and friends.

While these gallant sons of Ethiopia—who boldly opted  to flee the county rather than  be a willing killing machine to  the regime—were subjected to the cruel fate of falling in the hands of a brutal and vengeful torturers, scores of other Air force  pilots who fled the country,  including veterans such as Captain Teshome Tenkolu and eight pilots who were on a training in the Eastern European Slavic country of Belarus,  have managed to resettle in western European countries where their lives are now  protected and far away form the very sad and cruel fate befallen on Lt Behilu and Lt Abiyot.

Just about a year ago, Maj. General Alemshet Degefe, the Commander of the Air force and his deputies were stripped of all power and privilege after an apparent fall out with the  leaders of the TPLF/EPRDF. In what appears to be yet a blatant continuation of more of the same  minority  ethnic elite  monopoly over  the commanding heights of  Defense forces, as in all  facets of national life in today’s Ethiopia, several weeks ago Gen Molla, a Tigrayan,  has been appointed  as the commander of the Air force. Others such as Siyoum Hagos in charge of the Western command , Yohannes Gebremeskel in Charge of The Central Command and  Military Intelligence, and many other TPLF Politico-Military cadres were also appointed and given promotion of rank and power to head the key and commanding heights at the Defense Ministry—military intelligence, operations , training, and all of the commands—north, eastern, western, and southern.  Samora Yunus, a TPLF CC member , still remains the Chief of Staff. Although , Abadula Gemeda, the OPDO boss,  has the Minster of Defense portfolio, he remains  a token in the decision making of both matters of policy and operations of the TPLF controlled Defense Ministry.

For all its pretensions with  masks of potency and cohesion , the regime’s military continues to face serious discontent , disaffection, resentment and demoralization, in part  due to lack of a merit based system and professionalism that have been taken over with criteria of  ethnicity and political loyalty, the very hall marks of the regime and the ruling party since its inception. Thus , leading to periodic and numerous defections from the ranks of the military.

To top it all, the misguided policies on all fronts and repression carried by the minority dictatorship of the TPFL/EPRDF regime has not left the military apparatus immune from a pervasive discontent and simmering resentment due to the mounting socio –economic hardships and grinding poverty facing the overwhelming majority of Ethiopians. While Ethiopia continues to be the proverbial “Tale of Two Cities”, rather the tale of two nations with oceanic gulf– that as a matter of  natural or social laws, one can take whichever pick,   begets a volcanic eruption for its hubris and excess sooner or later –one a heaven for the ruling minority dictatorship  and the coterie of  cronies of all types  for the most  part  and , another one, a living hell for the overwhelming majority of our compatriots experiencing economic hardship of untold proportion. Indeed,  an all pervading daily phenomena of the Ethiopian people eking out for mere survival under  regime’s repressive and corrupt iron grip. And a whole nation, the Ethiopian people in a gigantic prison.

The near crisis situation of the TPLF controlled military is compounded by  the  “No Way Out” situation in Somalia , bogged down , bleeding day in and day out, soldiers with low morale, pervasive corruption implicating those in high command in a direct and indirect complicity of selling  wide array of armaments in the black market of Somalia and the Ogden region of Ethiopia, according a very recent report.

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Posted by on May 18, 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.