Amhara militants burnt houses in Oromo Special Zone
One of the claims HaqCheck debunked last week was a tweet that Amhara militants set houses belonging to Oromo residents on fire. The tweet shared an image to support the claim that houses were being burnt recently in the Dawa district of Oromia Special Zone, in Wollo.
HaqCheck investigated the image embedded in the tweet and confirmed the image is old and doesn't show recently burnt houses.
The image is not of a recent incident and was taken from a publication made a year and a few months ago. The image appeared on Dec 23, 2020, along with a report article regarding a ‘massacre in the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State’.
Therefore, HaqCheck confirmed that the image does not prove the claim and rated it FALSE.
Images claimed to show Oromos hanged by Emperor Menelik ll
A Twitter account with more than 2 thousand followers shared two collaged images on Mar 17, 2022, captioned, “Menelik Genocide on Oromo people 1897 in Finfinnee.”
The images were taken from old publications and don't support the claim.
The first image was taken from an article describing the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The image was published along with the article written in the Arabic language. The description stated that the image depicts Ethiopians who resisted the Italian army and were hanged by the Italian soldiers.
The second image was found in a website posted in an article about Eritrea’s short history. The caption written for the image in the article stated that the image shows Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) fighters who were hanged by the then Ethiopian military regime, Derg during the Eritrean independence armed struggle.
Therefore, since the images don't support the claim, HaqCheck rated the tweet FALSE.
Drone strike in Shire
Drone strike claims were observed on social media last week. A Facebook page with more than 21,000 followers posted an image on Mar 04, claiming that a drone strike took place in the town of Shire around 11:20 am during secret peace talks. The post was shared as breaking news. By the time this article was published, the post had more than 1,250 reactions and was shared more than 85 times.
However, the images used in the post were realized to be taken from provisos publications. The first image in the post is taken from an article published about Bayraktar TB2 Tactical UAV on Jan 6, 2021, on a website named Army Technology.
The second image was taken from a tweet made on Oct 20, 2021.
Therefore HaqCheck confirmed that the images in the post don't support the claim and rated the post FALSE.
Famine and death in Tigray
False images about famine and death in Tigray were also observed on social media last week.
Two tweets, published consecutively in 2 minutes difference on Twitter by an influential Twitter account with more than 225,000 followers on March 13, 2022, were retweeted more than 800 and 1300 times respectively with 88, and 331 quote tweets.
Those who retweeted the posts re-shared the tweet using different captions. The two tweets posted a website link of an article, along with captions, written by the account owner, a popular journalist, and author, on his website. The article story reports the possible death that hit hundreds of thousands in the artificial famine in Tigray quoting a university scholar.
There are reports regarding the famine that has caused many deaths in Tigray. The food shortage in the region has led to starvation with over 5 million people in need of emergency food assistance.
However, Haqcheck has come to realize that the image used to support the linked article on Twitter, is outdated and has nothing to do with the current situation in Ethiopia.
HaqCheck ran reverse image searches on the image and found the same photos in a website published by Reuters on Sep 9, 2016, before the Northern Ethiopia war erupted.
"A malnourished boy lies on a bed at a hospital in the red seaport city of Houdieda, Yemen," Reuters's report reads. The image was captured by Abduljabbar Zeyad, the Reuters photographer.
Finally, HaqCheck found out that the image was changed on Mar 21, 2022, by the author.
Therefore, HaqCheck confirmed that the image used to support the claim is old and unrelated to the content, and rated it FALSE.
HaqCheck recommends social media influencers and content creators abstain from intentionally or unintentionally circulating false and controversial information on social media. They should be responsible and aware that their false information may pose online and offline damages.
We recommend foreign journalists to be careful and accurate while reporting. They should not use false images along with news articles.
Social media users should be conscious of the origin and intention of unverified information posted on social media platforms. They should question the authenticity of the information before they read and share it with others.
HaqCheck always advocates access to information be granted to the public and media. The government should make sufficient, timely, and accurate information and updates.