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Does the image show the Ethiopian air force attacking TPLF forces?

Avatar: Rehobot Ayalew
Rehobot AyalewAugust 13, 2021
HAQCHECKFact checking
Does the image show the Ethiopian air force attacking TPLF forces?

A Facebook page with over 215,000 followers posted a photo on August 11 with text that reads “The “Junta forces'' [TPLF forces], which were hiding in a secret camp at the Geregera School in the Amhara region, were completely destroyed by the national air force’s operation”. The page, which posted the claim as breaking news, reported that the incident happened in Geregera, a town found in Northern Wollo of the Amhara region, located approximately 73.5 km from Lalibela.

The claim is supported by an image that shows an explosion from afar. HaqCheck looked into the post and has rated it as FALSE due to the inaccuracy of the image used to support the claim.

This post is amongst the many that have been circulating across social media following the ongoing armed conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and theTigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) armies since November 2020. The war broke out after the federal government started a military offensive against TPLF forces accusing them of attacking a military base in Tigray. Three weeks later, the federal government reported that it had occupied the regional capital city, Mekelle, and most parts of the regional state.

However, after eight months of the war, the federal government claimed that it had decided to withdraw its troops from the region and declared a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire. After being dislodged by Ethiopia’s military, the former leaders of the region claimed to have regained control on 28 June 2021 over the regional capital and most parts of the regional state. 

However, the TPLF-forces have been advancing southwards and southeast, moving out of the heartlands of Tigray. Recently, armed clashes have been reported in border areas adjacent to Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regional states. On August 5, TPLF forces took control of the town of Lalibela in the North Wollo zone of Amhara regional state. Following that, the office of the prime minister issued a statement on August 10 calling on Ethiopians to join an offensive against TPLF forces. The Facebook post that claimed the air force attacked TPLF forces in Amhara Region was shared during these situations.

However, HaqCheck looked into the image posted by the page and checked its authenticity through a reverse image search. It shows that the image was first posted on 14 January 2020. The image shows an explosion at a petrochemical plant in northeastern Spain, near Barcelona. 

Original Image 

Despite the reports that the government has begun an offensive against TPLF forces, HaqCheck has confirmed that the image does not show an attack on TPLF in Geregera. Therefore, we have rated the post as FALSE due to the inaccuracy of the image used to support the claim.

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A PIECE BYRehobot Ayalew

Rehobot is an enthusiastic, proactive & ethical young woman, who is a lead fact-checker at HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe & its CSO partner Inform Africa. She is a graduate of Economics from Ambo University. She loves volunteering in community services & aspires to make the world a better place in whatever she does.