Reuters logo
Ethiopian pilot defects to Eritrea in helicopter - state media
December 23, 2014 / 2:26 PM / in 3 years

Ethiopian pilot defects to Eritrea in helicopter - state media

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - An Ethiopian air force pilot has defected to Eritrea, flying a helicopter across the border with his co-pilot and a technician, Ethiopian state-run media said on Tuesday.

    The three men had been missing since Friday morning soon after leaving their base on a routine training session, Ethiopian Television reported.

    Eritrea and Ethiopia have been locked in a border dispute for years and routinely accuse each other of backing rebels trying to destabilise and topple the other’s government - a legacy from the two-year war they fought in the late 1990s.

    “The military helicopter landed in Eritrea, flown by a traitor pilot who forced both his co-pilot and a technician while they took part in a training exercise,” the report said, citing a defence ministry statement.

    It did not give further details. 

    No official from either side was available for comment, but reports from pro-Eritrean government outlets and those of opposition groups said the helicopter was an MI-35 gunship.

    Ethiopia says the spat over the demarcation of their shared border following the 1998-2000 war would only be solved through a negotiated settlement.

    Eritrea wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out before normalising relations, citing a decision by a Hague-based boundary commission which awarded it the flashpoint frontier village of Badme in 2002.

Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Louise Ireland

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below