The founder and first chairman of Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF), Col. Tadesse Muluneh, has arrived in Addis Ababa last Friday after languishing in Eritrean jail, and later on, under house arrest when his health deteriorated, for the past 8 years.
To this day, the Eritrean government has not given any reason for his detention and he was never brought to court. Eritrea is one of the few countries in the world where political prisoners are never brought to court. They just disappear.
Col. Tadesse is a celebrated Ethiopian jet fighter pilot who had participated in the victory over the forces of former Somali President Siad Barre who invaded Ethiopia in 1977.
In 1991, when EPRDF took power in Ethiopia, Col. Tadesse and other pilots went into exile refusing to serve the ethnic-apartheid junta.
In early 2000s, Col. Tadesse and other Ethiopian patriots took shelter in Eritrea and formed EPPF. When the organization grew strong, Eritrea, perhaps feeling threatened, dismantled the EPPF leadership and placed Col. Tadesse under house arrest. In 2010, Col. Tadesse and other leaders of EPPF were arrested. It is believed some were killed or disappeared, including a young filmmaker Yoseph Haimanot, an Ethiopian-born British citizen who was arrested in 2015 and never heard from again.
The Eritrean government is also unwilling to provide any information about the fate of Captain Petros Bezabeh, a pilot who was shot down during the 1998-2000 senseless war between the regimes of Addis Ababa and Asmara.