On 07 February 2021 a facebook post was shared by an account named Solomon Tekaligne (an account with 62,865 followers) with the image below and the claim that the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that Sudan started education in the territories recently restored from Ethiopian armed forces (Gonder) in Arabic and also added that as well as building mosques and hospitals in the area. The same account on 06 February 2021 also shared images with the claim that the Sudanese army had seized Armachiho and 1,800 people had been displaced from the area as a result. However, HaqCheck interrogated the case and confirmed that the Sudan News Agency had not reported the start of education in Arabic in the claimed territories near Gonder or built mosques and hospitals in the area. It also confirmed that the pictures don’t show Sudan controlled Armachiho. Therefore, HaqCheck rated the posts FALSE due to the usage of inaccurate images and false citation to support the claim.
Claim One: Sudan has started education in Arabic and built mosques and hospitals in the recently occupied area near Gondar (6 February 2021)
Claim Two: Sudanese forces have reached Armachiho as well as displacing over 1,800 Ethiopians in the region. (7 February 2021)
Granted, there have been armed clashes around the Ethio-Sudanese border since the beginning of November. It is also true that the Sudanese Armed Forces announced that they reclaimed territory in the Salam Bir and Mahaj areas in El Gedaref from the Ethiopian army and armed militias following these clashes. On 31 December 2020 Omar Qamareddine, Sudanese foreign minister declared restoration and full control over all territories along the Ethio-Sudanese border that had been taken over by Ethiopian farmers. The countries have been in talks and negotiations to settle the issue and demarcate the boundary in spite of it being in vain with the Ethiopian government’s call for respecting the international borders falling on deaf ears thus far.
It is in this context that the posts were shared by the user claiming that Sudan began education in the claimed territories in Arabic, building mosques and hospitals, and has controlled Armachiho displacing over 1,800 people in the process. However a reverse image search of the pictures used in the post don’t prove the claim. The recent post also appeals to have a false citation. The image in the second post is simply a photoshop with Sudanese flag. The original picture is found here.
In addition to this, neither the first image nor the second image used in the first post show Sudan seizing the area known as Armachiho. The first image was first published by Aljazeera on June 18, 2019 and shows Sudan Rapid Support Forces (RSF) troops guarding Lt. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council during a meeting in Khartoum on June 18, 2019. The original post can be accessed with the following link.
The second image was first posted in Getty Images website on 14 January 2020 and shows Sudanese soldiers blocking roads in Khartoum, during a protest. The original image can be accessed with the following link.
It is true that there have been armed conflicts along the border areas between Ethiopian and Sudanese forces. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the claims and confirmed that the images and the false reference to SUNA’s report don't prove Sudan controlled Armachiho, started school in Arabic in the claimed territories, and built mosques and hospitals. Therefore, HaqCheck rated the posts FALSE due to the usage of inaccurate images and false reference 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 running in five languages (Affan Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya and English)