Ethiopia used one of its flagship national airlines to transport war weapons and other support in conflict areas, according to an internal U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa said the monitoring cable from 2008 documented a February 2008 trip by the aircraft, Federal Air Transport Service (FATS), to Shashamane, a strategic location in western Ethiopia.
FATS transported 500 tons of weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, weather satellites, military vehicles, fuel, helicopters, tents, equipment for troops, mechanized carriers, and food rations, the cable said.
The country also successfully used FATS in action in 2007, the cable noted. FATS said it transported 100 tons of consignments of military material during those two trips in December 2007, according to the cable.
The cable said Ethiopia has developed a “vast war-making capacity” through its state-owned military, including setting up large military camps within its territory and many adjacent rural areas. The militia force is known as Amhara National Defense Forces, the cable said.
Ethiopia is one of six countries on the African Union’s list of suspended “state sponsors of terrorism.” Its foreign minister called that designation “ludicrous” last week.