Female Eritrean pilot goes to Saudi Arabia to recover jet stolen by defectors - and defects herself
Monday 22 April 2013
A military pilot sent by Eritrea to Saudi Arabia to reclaim a jet stolen by two fellow officers when they flew to seek asylum has herself defected.
The pilot, who holds the rank of captain, told authorities she did not wish to return to the country, a single-party state which has up to 10,000 political prisoners.
The jet has been in Saudi Arabia since October, when it was diverted to the kingdom by its two officers who wanted to seek asylum, the newspaper Arab News said.
"She came to the kingdom two weeks ago to retrieve the military plane," Ali Za'le, a spokesman for Jizan governorate, was quoted saying.
"When she reached Jizan, she expressed her wish to stay here ... her request is still being considered by the authorities," he added.
Diplomats at Eritrea's embassy in Riyadh were not immediately available to comment on the report.
Arab News said the pilot's father lived in Saudi Arabia.
Mass defections are common in Eritrea, considered one of the world's most reclusive states where dissent is dealt with harshly. Thousands of Eritreans flee the country each year, escaping unlimited conscription and poverty in the Red Sea state, aid agencies say.
Last year, 14 Eritrean footballers from the national soccer squad sought asylum in Uganda a year after 13 members of a club disappeared while participating in a regional tournament.
The UN refugee agency says more than 250,000 Eritrean refugees and nearly 15,000 asylum seekers live across the Horn of Africa.
Eritrea has a population of about 5.5 million. Earlier this year, dissident soldiers with tanks briefly took over the Information Ministry in Asmara, demanding all political prisoners be freed.
Calm soon returned to the capital but Eritrean opposition activists in neighbouring Ethiopia cite growing dissent within the army over economic hardships.
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'This is what Islam tells us to do': A rare glimpse inside a Saudi Arabian prison – where Isis terrorists are showered with perks and privileges
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
£30000 - £33000 per annum + bonus and pension: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Content Administrator is required ...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...