Highly Trained and Disciplined Ethiopian Airforce Pilots Won’t Hit Civilians: Air Force Commander

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January 22,2022 (ENA) The Ethiopian Airforce, with its highly trained and disciplined pilots, is capable to hit targets and prevent civilians causalities in any operation, Ethiopian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa said.

Lieutenant General Yilma added that the allegation made by the terrorist TPLF that the Ethiopian Air Force has targeted civilians is baseless.

It is to be recalled that members of the National Defense Force who have excelled in the Multinational Operation for Unity to thwart the threat posed on the survival of Ethiopia have recently been recognized and rewarded.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Commander-in-Chief of the National Defense Force, Abiy Ahmed awarded the Adwa Hero Medal to outstanding military officers, including Lieutenant General Yilma Merdassa.

Also on the occasion, the lieutenant general was recognized as the best pilot of the Air Force.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Lieutenant General Yilma said that the allegation disseminated by the leadership and supporters of the terrorist TPLF claiming that the Air Force has attacked civilians in Tigray is false.

He explained that the terrorist TPLF forces mothers with their babies to shelter in military camps for filming and disseminates falsely that they are war victims.

Besides, “the terrorist group deliberately keeps its fighters in the middle of civilians to mislead  the national defense force. The enemy doesn’t also wear military uniform and their leadership is attempting to discredit our army by collecting the dead bodies of insurgents as if they are civilians.”

Lieutenant General Yilma stressed that the pilots at the Air Force have strong sympathy to the civilians and high morale. Moreover, they are highly trained and disciplined to prevent civilian casualties in any operation.

The commander also noted that reform activities have been carried out to enhance the readiness and capability of the Air Force following the nationwide reform.

Implementation of the reform has greatly contributed to the duties of the Air Force to discharge its duties and effectively respond to threats posed on Ethiopia.

According to the commander, the Air Force is capable to defend any threat posed on the  Ethiopian airspace by any party.

“ As we were forced to engage in the war we had short time to modernize, train, and shape our human resources. We are armed with what we need and repaired what we need. All together, we are now on high alert to prevent attacks from any direction.”

The Ethiopian Air Force is better organized and equipped with modern technology, hitting  targets precisely, the commander said, adding that civilians cannot be targets in any way.

During the TPLF era, the Air Force was not built as befits Ethiopia; the Air Force never reflected  the face of Ethiopia before the reform, he stated, adding that it was controlled by people from one region and had been working for the survival of the party.

After the reform, the Air Force has managed to build an institution that is suitable for the great country and for all Ethiopians in a short period of time, the commander noted.

Young people from all parts of Ethiopia have joined the Air Force and are receiving training, he added. 

“The Air Force did not look like Ethiopia and was not up to standard. Accordingly, we have reformed it  because the leadership and members were from one area and the system was tuned to one philosophy. It did not take into account the faces of Ethiopia. We will build an air force that befits a big country like Ethiopia. Thus we have changed all the old practices; and the youth   being recruited are happily joining the institute.”

Lieutenant General Yilma further noted that the Air Force is working day and night to ensure that Ethiopian airspace is safe and that the construction of mega projects are undertaken  smoothly and without any problem.