In Cairo, four defectors from a visiting Ethiopian football team said on Wednesday (23 June) they had been secretly working against the Ethiopian Government for several years as members of the rebel Eritrean Liberation Front.
GV Cairo streets
SV INTERIOR Ethiopian football team defectors interviewed
REPORTER: "When did you join the ELF?"
DEFECTOR: "I joined the ELF five years ago."
REPORTER: "Did you think of leaving Ethiopia before coming to Egypt?"
REPORTER: "When was that?"
DEFECTOR: "Before coming here."
REPORTER: "What are your future plans?"
DEFECTOR: "Our future plans depends on the mission given by the ELF office."
REPORTER: "Please tell me something about the political situation among the Eritrean people in Ethiopia."
DEFECTOR: "The situation in Ethiopia is not very good for the Eritreans. They have been too much oppressed by the military government. Some of the Eritreans have been imprisoned ... some are sick, out of their job ... there are others who have not been given the commissions they should have been ... (indistinct). So the military government in Ethiopia is not treating the Eritreans as good as possible because they are considering as their colony. It is not the mass population which is oppressing the Eritreans but only the military government."
One of the defectors, Lieutenant Tesfaye Wolde of Ethiopia's Airborne Battalion, said he had been active in the Eritrean underground movement for the past five years. There are two Eritrean guerrilla movements - the Eritrean Liberation Front and the Popular Liberation Forces. Earlier this month a "peasant army", which was organised by the Ethiopian Government to march into Eritrea and end the 14-year war, was disbanded after pressure from outside countries.
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Background: In Cairo, four defectors from a visiting Ethiopian football team said on Wednesday (23 June) they had been secretly working against the Ethiopian Government for several years as members of the rebel Eritrean Liberation Front. The Front has been fighting the Ethiopian government for 14 years for control of the province of Eritrea, situated on the northern border of Ethiopia.
SYNOPSIS: The four men presented themselves to the Cairo office of the Eritrean Liberation Front last Sunday (20 June). Later they told newsmen about their decision to defect.