Selam General Tesfaye Habtemariam,
I am writing an open letter to you regarding the hijacking of Ethiopian Airlines which took place in December 8, 1972. The hijacking was planned by Ethiopian student militants who had political motives. The planned hijackers were Walelign Mekonnen, Marta Mebratu, Belay Taddesse, Getachew Habte, Tadelech Kidane Mariam, Yohannes Fekadu and Tesfaye Birega. I watched your recent interview on ESAT and learned that you were the first anti plane hijacker, trainer and served as head of a special anti-hijacking task force for four years. In your interview, you mentioned all the failed hijacking attempts, including the December 8 incident, during your service period as anti-hijacker.
One of the planned hijacker, Getachew Habte, is my half-brother. He is my mother’s first son and I know how much she loved him. The day before he boarded on the plane, she went to his father’s house to wish him safe flight. The next day she received an urgent message and relatives drove us to his father’s house. I saw people jostling each other in the house to remove Getachew’s documents and papers from his room, including his typewriter. Many stack of papers were burnet. His father was told that a special government secret force would come to visit his house and he was advised to clean up Gtachew’s room.
Ato Habte was a lawyer by profession and had well-established contacts. According to the inside information the family received, Getachew Habte and others were executed in a room at the airport after the plane returned back and landed. The dramatic story that they were killed in the airplane while hijacking was not true.
These militant students were know by the secret service agents of Haile Selassie Government. They were leaders of the student movement and founders of a clandestine revolutionary party. Getachew Habte was a law student at Haile Selassie I University (Addis Ababa University) and known for his repeated withdrawals from the university in order to keep in touch with and organize the student movement. Because of his political activity, he was barred from being employed at any public office. He has translated communist literature and known for his master of writing propaganda papers. He was one of the first communist in Ethiopia and I have heard that he was trying to translate Das Kapital.
The internal security intelligence service of Hail Selassie Government knew the movements of all the hijackers, who were frontline campus activists and student movement leaders for many years. According to the information we received then the security intelligence knew about the boarding of these militant students and were well prepared how to foil the plan. There was no shooting drama in the airplane as we were told. Most of the hijackers were shot point blank in the head in a room at the airport after the plane returned back and landed.
Dear General Tesffaye Habtemariam, I am kindly asking you to tell the truth. What is that you know as a member and head of the anti-hijacking task force? Many people are expecting your response and I hope that you can answer the question satisfactorily.
Uppsala University, Sweden