Recently an image that shows a man in military wear has been circulating across social media platforms, particularly on Facebook. On 09 June 2021 a Facebook post by the name Dade Desta (an account with 24,616 followers) shared an image claiming that the man is an Eritrean soldier. It was shared by over 45 accounts. On 10 June 2021 a Facebook page by the name Qeerroo Intelligence Group (with 7,818 followers) posted the image with Afaan Oromo text that reads “the man is Sisay Tesfabirhan, one of the hundreds of thousands of Eritrean [Shabia] soldiers that are captured in Oromia by the Oromo Liberation Army (WBO)”. The Facebook post was shared by over 102 accounts.
HaqCheck has investigated the image and the posts, confirming that the picture is not of an Eritrean soldier captured in Oromia. HaqCheck has rated the posts as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image.
Since 4 November 2020 there has been armed fighting between TPLF-led regional forces and Federal government-led forces in Tigray. There is also conflict in western parts of Oromia with unproven reports that the government is fighting the Oromo Liberation Army in Wellega. Amidst such reports, allegations have surfaced that the Eritrean army has dispatched its troops to Oromia and are fighting armed groups in the regional state.
It is against this backdrop that the Facebook posts emerged claiming that the man is one of the hundreds of thousands of Eritrean troops captured by the Oromo Liberation Army in Oromia.
However, a Google reverse image search shows that the image is actually a Somali blogger named Muuse Muudey. The image was cropped from a picture that shows him and a woman who people claim is his ex-wife. It was first published on Somali Post, an online information site on 15 April 2020. Here is also one of his videos on YouTube criticising Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo), President of Somalia. The original post related to the image can be accessed with the following link.
Granted, there have been unconfirmed allegations that Eritrean troops are deployed in Oromia and fighting armed groups in Wollega. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the posts and the image and confirmed that it doesn't show an Eritrean soldier captured by the Oromo Liberation Army. HaqCheck has therefore rated the post FALSE due to inaccurate usage of the image.
Fact Checked by: Hagos Gebreamlak
Edited by: Fasika Tadesse
The following article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact checking initiative, which is run by its R&D Department.