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False: The video does not show a helicopter shot down by Tigrayan forces

Avatar: Naol Getachew
Naol GetachewNovember 14, 2021
HAQCHECKFact checking
False: The video does not show a helicopter shot down  by Tigrayan forces

On Nov 11, 2021, a Facebook page with more than 69,000 followers shared a video with an explanatory caption that reads, “Video clarifying the type of aircraft helicopter Mi 35 that TDF has shot down around the Mille area...”. The video attached to the post, to support the claim, shows a descending down-burning helicopter. 

Until this article was published, the post had been shared more than 410 times and had more than 31 thousand views.

However, HaqCheck could confirm that the video doesn’t show a helicopter shot down during the current conflict and rated it FALSE

Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) forces and the Federal Government of Ethiopia have been in an active war in northern Ethiopia Since November 2020.  Last November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the Defence Force to Tigray to oust (TPLF) from power. In June, TPLF took control of Mekelle, the regional capital. 

The war has widened its scope recently. It is being reported that TPLF is continuing its expansion towards the neighboring Amhara and the Afar Regional States. Several media outlets are reporting that the Tigrean forces are advancing to take over the capital, defeating the federal and allied forces.

In the saga of controlling the capital and crippling the government by TPLF, taking over key towns and strategic areas is eyed by the force as basic. In this context lies the town of Mille, a district in Afar Regional State, strategically important to control the main road connecting the country to Djibouti. In this context, a Facebook post on Nov…..appeared on the verified page of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) claiming the Tigrean forces shot down a military helicopter of the Ethiopian army at Mille front. HaqCheck investigated the claim and found out that the image used to support the post is from The Time magazine back in 2016 and doesn’t actually show the situation, rendering it False.

The claim discussed in this article is published on Facebook following the previous claim.  

However, a reverse image search of screenshots from the video revealed that the video is neither from Ethiopia nor shows a recent incident in the country. The footage found shows a Syrian Air Force helicopter taken down by rebels in the area of Nayrab in eastern Idlib. It was shared by The Telegraph on Feb 11, 2020, dated even before the war began. 

Furthermore, the post tries to trick users by changing the Arabic voice on the original video and adding voiceover recorded in the Tigrigna language.  

Therefore, due to these reasons, HaqCheck confirmed the claim is FALSE.

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A PIECE BYNaol Getachew

Naol is a journalist and fact-checker at Addis Zeybe for HaqCheck. He is a professional working in the fields of fact-checking, journalism, online storytelling, and translation.