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No: The images do not show Oromo People Liberation Front-forces

Avatar: Naol Getachew
Naol GetachewNovember 10, 2021
HAQCHECKFact checking
No: The images do not show Oromo People Liberation Front-forces

 A Facebook page named Egypt Today Magazine with more than 139,000 followers posted a photo on Nov 8, 2021,  entitled “#BREAKING: Leader of Oromo People Liberation Front says forces are 40 kilometers away from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.”  The Image shows trekking arrayed soldiers, supposedly OLF forces according to the caption of the post. 

The post was viral and received more than 1.7 thousand reactions and was shared more than 815 times. 

However, HaqCheck looked into the Post in order to ratify the claim. In the first place, we can’t find any armed group in the name of ‘Oromo People Liberation Front. We can find an armed group, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The OLA  was for many years the armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), from which it split from OLF in April 2018, refusing the 2018 peace agreement that the OLF made with the federal Ethiopian government. The group claims it had taken several towns in the western, central, and southern Oromia regions.

We can also confirm that the picture posted does not show the Oromo Liberation Front force’s soldiers, and rated it as FALSE due to its inexact use of pictures.

The 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 defense force to Tigray to oust Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from power. In June TPLF took control of Mekelle, the regional capital. 

Thousands of civilians are killed and displaced due to the war in northern Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government designated Oromo Liberation Army (addressed as OLF Shene by the government) as a terrorist group along with the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) on May 1, 2021. The two groups announced their alliance on August 11. After the war in Tigray spread to the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions, TPLF started its expansion to different cities and towns including Dessie and Kombolcha. On November 1 OLA said it had seized the town of Kemissie, 335 km from Addis Ababa. 

The report had thus been produced during such times the conflict has escalated.

Tineye reverse image search of the picture of the report shows that Oromo forces are not pictured in the image. The image was posted for the first time by Ethiopian Insight on August 10, 2020. The Picture was published with a News analysis entitled “Tigray-federal tit-for-tat threatens trouble”, even before the ongoing war. 

Furthermore, we can simply infer the identity of the soldiers by looking at the flag of Tigray Regional State embroidered on the fatigues of the soldiers.  Hence, in the image are depicted soldiers of Tigray Regional State Special Police Force and the picture is taken before the war erupted. 

HaqCheck assessed the post/ report and confirmed that the images do not show the Oromo forces, rendering it as 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.