To escape Eritrea alive is a blessing.
Col. Tadesse Muluneh, a former fighter pilot of the Ethiopian Air Force, has returned to Ethiopia from Eritrea, where he has been a political prisoner for several years.
A famed patriot who was commander of the former Ethiopian Patriots Front, the charismatic Ethiopian was held incommunicado in Eritrea for several years after failing to toe the lines that the Eritrean regime had set for his organization.
Like many other prisoners in Eritrea, no one knew where Col. Tadesse was being held. In fact, there were appeals from his family members to anyone with a knowledge whether Tadesse was dead or alive, and where he was being held if he was still alive.
Eritrea’s notorious prison conditions coupled with medical neglect had taken their toll on the health of the former Air Force pilot who returned to Addis in a wheelchair, a scene that forced many to break down in tears.
Despite the anger and resentment over his conditions, many Ethiopian Air Force members and other compatriots were pleased that Col. Tadesse made it to his country alive.
Col. Tadesse Muluneh dedicated much of his life to secure freedom and democracy for Ethiopia, and calls were being made for financial help to cover impending medical expenses.
Col. Tadesse was released recently after Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to bury the hatchet and foster peace and cooperation.
Teshome Tenkolu, a former Ethiopian Air Force captain who chairs the Association of Former Members of Ethiopian Air Force from his home in Toronto, Canada, has posted on his Facebook page the phone number +251 93 003 4906 to call Negash Aboneh, the brother of Col. Tadesse Muluneh, and extend a helping hand.
The commitment to help the Ethiopian patriot should not only be the former members of the Air Force but also of all Ethiopians who love and respect those who have risked their lives for the honor of their people and country.