On 28 December 2020 a facebook post by the name Afmeer tv. (a page with 224,661 followers) was shared with an image that shows a military single-cabin pickup vehicle and troops and a claim that the Somali special police force and Afar regional forces are in a fierce fight along the border around Sitti [formerly known as Shinile zone]. The post claims that there is heavy loss inflicted on the Afar regional forces and three civilian Somalis were killed and two injured.
However, HaqCheck has interogetted the claim and confirmed that the image below that shows troops doesn’t relate to the conflict and that the recent armed clashes between the Somali and Afar regional forces, therefore, rendered the post as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image to support the claim.
The Afars and Issa Somalis have been in conflict since decades ago due to various factors. There have been inter-communal conflicts in the border areas, particularly Shinile zone, one of the nine zones of Somali regional state, and Gabi Rasu and Awsirasu zones of the Afar regional state. The contested territories, Unduffo, Gedamaytu, and Adaytu towns, are within the two Afar zones. Land claims and conflicts arise recurrently due to many Issa Somalis residing in urban centers of Gabi Rasu and Awsirasu zones, within the Afar regional state. The Somali and Afar regional states agreed and signed a peace deal, initiated by the then prime minister to demarcate boundaries between them as a permanent solution to the Afar – Issa inter-communal conflict in 2014. Accordingly the three conflict areas incorporated into the Afar regional state as a special kebeles of the Issa community; Gedamaytu integrated to Amibara woreda, Undufo to Gewane woreda and Adaytu to Mille woreda. However, in May 2019 the Somali regional state unilaterally nullified and withdrew from the border demarcation deal refusing to give up three kebeles to Afar regional state and labeling it unconstitutional and imposition on the will of the local population. There have reportedly been fresh armed clashes between the two regional forces two months ago and 27 people were killed.
It is in this context that a post has emerged with an image that depicts troops claiming there is a fresh armed conflict and the Somali and Afar regional forces are in a fierce fight along the border areas. However, a reverse image search of the image used in the facebook post shows that the picture is not of a recent conflict between the two regional states. The image was first posted on facebook on May 4, 2019 with a text that conflicts had been going between the regional forces and can be with the following link.
Granted, there have been decades-long conflicts along the Afar and Somali regional state borders. However, HaqCheck has interogetted the claim and confirmed that the image below that shows a vehicle with troops on board doesn’t relate to the recent armed clash between the Somali and Afar regional forces, therefore, rendering the post as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image to support the claim.
Fact Checked by: Hagos Gebreamlak
Edited by: Bruck Negash Teame
The following article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact checking initiative, which is run by its R&D Department.