Worsening defections in the Ethiopian army

ESAT News (April 12, 2016)

Defections by the army was top on the agenda at a recent high level military conference presided by the Minister of Defense, Sirage Fergessa and the Chief of Staff Samora Yenus.

The Minister told the mid-level officers that the study conducted on the root causes of defections by the army was not satisfactory. The participants agreed the study did not cover the real causes of defections but mainly focused on administrative problems in the army.

There have been reports of defections in the Ethiopian army in recent years, with most of the defectors joining armed resistance groups operating from the country’s northern border. Defectors say corruption, nepotism and ethnic favoritism were the reasons for their defections. Scores of air force pilots have defected just in the last couple of years accusing the regime of ethnic favoritism.

About 90% of Ethiopia’s generals and senior officers are from the Tigray ethnic group causing discontent and resentment on the part of the rank and file.

Army generals and high level officers are involved in unbridled high level corruption while the rank and file eke out an existence.