African Standard (Nairobi)
Mohammed Duba and Biketi Kikechi
Seven armed Ethiopian
military officers who defected to Kenya have been identified
by Kenyan Military and Police intelligence services.
also gave the make of the weapons recovered from the
military officers who are seeking political asylum from
the Kenya Government.
sources said the soldiers are non-commissioned officers
with the highest ranking being a corporal.
were given as Corporals Godana Chrisko (Hadaya tribe),
Corporal Dabada Bonaya (Hadaya), Private Gamachiz Maua
(Oromo), Sisay Waldayo (Wataita), Private Molaku Bimivo
(Amhara), Private Maii Brauno (Amhara) and Private Sitayo
had indicated that the seven had crossed on foot to
the border town of Moyale and surrendered to a Kenyan
However, it emerged
yesterday that the seven were intercepted by a joint
team of regular and Administration Police officers after
a tip-off from a member of the public.
from them six AK-47 assault rifles, 237 rounds of 7.62
mm special ammo, 35 hand grenades, two China-made bombs,
two field dressing kits and four military bayonets.
of 11 other soldiers reported to have been sighted in
the same area could not be ascertained.
Efforts to get
a comment from the Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi were
futile as Ambassador Teshome Toga was said to be out
of the country on official duties.
And the area
MP who is an Assistant Minister for Health, Dr Gurach
Galgalo, yesterday expressed concern over the security
of Kenyans residing in Moyale.
Ethiopian and Kenyan governments yesterday began diplomatic
talks over the runaway soldiers.
The PS in the
Office of the President, Mr Zakayo Cheruiyot, said high-level
contacts between Addis Ababa and Nairobi were held yesterday
evening, reports indicated that the Ethiopian deserters
had been moved from Moyale to Garissa Police Station.
Speaking at Jomo
Kenyatta International Airport after seeing off President
Moi, Cheruiyot said the soldiers who crossed into Kenya
were immediately flown to Nairobi.
“They are being
interrogated by the Military Intelligence so that we
can get the intention of their defection before the
next course of action can be drawn,” said Cheruiyot.
A source at the
Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi confirmed that the head
of his country’s security forces, Mr Kefe Gabremedir,
was killed by an army major.
There has been
growing unrest in the expansive Horn of Africa country,
with hundreds of opposition supporters being arrested
in recent months.
Ethiopians and Eritreans died in a bloody war between
the two countries, which has since ceased.
General Christopher arap Kuto is leading a United Nations
peace mission set up to monitor the buffer zone.