Ethiopian-Mi-35-HelicopterAddis Ababa ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Two Ethiopian Air Force pilots reportedly went missing since yesterday morning with their two MI-35 combat helicopters.

The Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) breaks the news this evening after confirming the defections of the two pilots and the two military helicopters from the Ethiopian Air Force inventory.

Due to the increasing number of defection, the Ethiopian Air Force enforced a restriction that only allow flying within a 30 minute flight radius during training periods. The ban, however, couldn’t stop disgruntled members of the force to abandon the regime and seek protection in neighboring countries like Eritrea, flying with their multi-million dollar military machines.

According to ESAT, the two missing pilots are named as Captain Samuel Ghidey and Lieutenant Yililign Mekonen.

Ethiopian Air Force is no stranger to such high profile defection. In October of this year alone, Four SU-25 Fighter Jet captains deserted the Air Force to join armed opposition groups based in Eritrea.

Until the time of reporting, it was not clear if these two helicopter pilots defected to Eritrea or not. However, it is highly unlikely for an Ethiopian Air Force pilot to seek protection elsewhere apart from Eritrea.

Ethiopian Regime Shoots and kills protesters in Bahir Dar

At least three Ethiopian protesters were killed and seven others were wounded after regime forces unleashed a hail of gunfire towards demonstrators in Bahir Drar.

The demonstrators, who mainly comprised of the Christian Orthodox faith, came together to protest the city’s administrator’s plan to take parts of “Meskel Square” for road expansion.

The ‘Meskel Square’ area is largely used by the city’s Orthodox Church followers to observe annual religious ceremonies such as “Meskel” (the Founding of the True Cross), colorfully celebrated on 26th of Sep. each year.

In a similar incident over development, last April, regime security forces shot and killed at least 47 Ethiopian students after they protested the “Integrated Urban Development” Master Plan of Addis Ababa, a plan protesters said is intended at taking lands from Oromos near Addis Ababa and giving them to party loyalists.

Last week, a top Swedish prosecutor told Swedish Radio that 12 Ethiopian government officials and one other military commander who is based in Sweden are being investigated for executing the killings of 193 innocent protesters following the 2005 Ethiopian post election.

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