Eritrean air force pilots defect to Ethiopia with Jet

Two Eritrean pilots have landed in Ethiopia in their fighter jets after defecting from their home country.

“The two pilots flew their small-sized fighter jets to Mekelle on Wednesday morning,” Nasredin Ahmed Ali, spokesman for the Ethiopia-based Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization, told The Associated Press.

Described as being very experienced with Eritrea’s air force, Afeworki Fisehaye and Mebrahtu Tesfamarian , are the first pilots from Eritrea to have defected to Ethiopia with their jets, however there have been reports of the East African nation’s pilots defecting to Saudi Arabia since 2012.

Eritrea’s government has been criticised by the UN commission of inquiry for numerous abuses including enslavement, rape and torture.

An Eritrean official based in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, said he was not aware of the defections. Ethiopia’s government spokesman, Getachew Reda, declined to comment according to AP.

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