On 23 April 2021, a Facebook post was shared by the account መሃልየ ሰለሞን which shared the image below with the claim that several military vehicles of the Ethiopian army are crossing Shire to travel to Qola Temben. The text which is written in Amharic reads “.... right now at 12:00 AM (midday) 12 patrols, 9 Ural trucks, two oil trucks, two logistics trucks, 3 zu-23, and 6 vehicles with cannons and machine guns are traveling to Qola Temben through Shire…” The post has been shared by over 202 users. However, Haqcheck interrogated the case and confirmed that the picture doesn’t show military vehicles traveling to Qola Temben during the ongoing armed conflict in Tigray, and rated it FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image to support the claim.
Since 4 November 2020, there has been armed fighting between the TPLF-led regional forces and Federal government-led forces in Tigray. The federal government controlled the regional capital city, Mekelle on 28 November 2020. It has also recently announced that it was rapidly capturing senior civil and military officers of the TPLF. Some of the senior civil and military leaders of the TPLF-led force have also been arrested.
However, guerrilla fighting and instabilities have continued in the region during the post-war period. Recently the Ethiopian army announced that the ‘TPLF clique force’ has tried to escape to Sudan but was prevented.
It is in this context that the post was shared by the user making strong allegations that a large force of the Ethiopian National Defense Force is crossing Shire and going to Qola Temben. However, a reverse image search of the picture used in the post doesn’t prove the claim. The image was first published on 8 January 2019 on Twitter. The image was posted on Twitter to a replay to a tweet by the name Daniel Berhane which claims local residents in Shire blocked the journey of several military trucks. The original post can be accessed with the following link.
Granted, there are claims of guerrilla fighting in Tigray while the government announced the war is over and is hunting TPLF criminal cliques. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the post and confirmed that the image doesn't show several Ethiopian military vehicles going to Qola Temben and therefore rated it as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image.
Fact Checked by: Hagos Gebreamlak
Edited by: Eden Tafesework
The following article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact-checking running in five languages (Affan Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya, and English)