A Facebook page with more than 290 thousand followers shared an image on Mar 3, captioned, “GERD workers and soldiers from the defense force were attacked by Gumuz rebels while traveling from the dam to a metropolitan area.”
By the time this article was published, the post had more than 10 thousand reactions and was shared more than 1200 times.
However, HaqCheck inspected the image and rendered it False.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is the largest hydropower project in Africa that produces nearly 6450 MW after completion. The Dam is found in the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State, Guba, 48km east of the border with Sudan.
On Mar 2, 2017, the Ethiopian State Minister for Communication stated that security forces clashed with a Benshangul rebel organization near Assosa in the Benshangul region, near the dam site.
Reports from a number of news agencies also suggested that 13 rebels were killed in the engagement. The rebels were reportedly carrying explosives and were armed with Rocket Propelled Grenades and light arms. The project was the group’s suspected target.
Later on Apr 15, 2017, Ethiopia sentenced rebels for conducting an attack near the site of GERD. The court handed down lengthy prison terms to 10 members of a rebel group, the Benishangul Gumez Peoples Movement (BGPM), for carrying out an attack near the construction site of the country’s multi-billion-dollar hydroelectric power plant project.
The Facebook post was published taking advantage of this background incident.
HaqCheck looked into the image and discovered the picture in diffrent articles posted at diffrent times. The image is found in an article published on Sep 1, 2017, titled “Twenty-six-year-old American freelance journalist Christopher Allen was shot dead as he reported on the fight.”
The image shows South Sudan rebel fighters who wore red ragged strips of cloth to identify themselves to each other as friendly forces.
Even though there are several claims that Gumuz rebels conducted an attack on GERD workers, most of the pages used the same image to support the claim.
Therefore, HaqCheck inspected the image used to support the claim and rendered it False.