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No: The image does not show a helicopter shot down by Tigrayan forces

Avatar: Naol Getachew
Naol GetachewNovember 11, 2021
HAQCHECK
No: The image does not show a helicopter shot down by Tigrayan forces

Facebook page with more than 504,000 followers shared a post claiming that “The Hero Tigray Army downed a military helicopter and burned it this morning in Mile front...”. An image attached to the post, to support the claim, shows a burning helicopter. Until this article was published, the post had been shared more than 175 times and received more than 1.5 thousand reactions. 

However, the HaqCheck could confirm that the image doesn’t show a Helicopter downed due to the recent war 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. However, HaqCheck has undertaken a reverse image search of the pictures to learn that the Image doesn't actually prove the claim. The image was taken on September 9, 2016, and published for the first time on a website with the caption “A Mil Mi-35 attack helicopter during the Caucasus 2016 strategic drills at Opuk range of Russia's Southern Military District”. 

The Original image

Therefore, HaqCheck confirmed that the image does not show a helicopter taken down at Mille, by the Tigrayan forces; it is rather an image taken four years before the war began.

Given the discussed reasons, HaqCheck rendered the claim 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.