On 22 December 2020 a tweet by the name ?#????_??????_???????? (a twitter account with 3,582 followers) emerged posting three images that show a man and traditional weapons with the claim that the weapons were found in the house of the Dibate woreda (in Metekel zone of Benishangul Gumuz regional state) administrator and were stored in his houses for the purpose of attacking Amharas in the area. The text which is written in Amharic reads “…. he is Debeli Belgafo and he got the favor to come to Metekel for administrative position because he massacred many people when he was the administrator of Dibate woreda…. These weapons (prepared to be used to mass kill Amharas) were found in his house when the house was raided.” However, HaqCheck has interogetted the images and confirmed that the pictures of billhooks don’t show weapons found in the Dibate woreda administrator’s house and, therefore, rendered the post as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image to support the claim.

There have been conflicts and displacements in the Metekel zone of Benishangul Gumuz regional state. As inter-communal conflicts in the zone and surrounding areas are aggravated, Benishangul Gumuz and Amhara regional governments blamed each other. On 22 December 2020 Prime minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), Minister of Peace Muffriat Kamil, army Chief of Staff General Berhanu Jula, and Benishangul Gumuz region President Ashadli Hassan visited the area and held discussions with residents of Metekel Zone to resolve the security deterioration in the area. According to the Amhara Mass Media Agency a severe ethnic-based mass killing has occurred on December 23, 2020 in Bikuji kebele of Bulen woreda and  houses were set on fire.

Amid the inter-ethnic conflict and security crisis in the Metekel zone of Benishangul Gumuz regional state a tweet which claims the weapons in the image were found in the house of the Dibate woreda administrator and being stored for the massacre of Amharas appeared. However, reverse image searches of the pictures used in the tweet don’t support the claim made by the twitter account. The first image that depicts many billhooks was first published in a facebook post by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on 21 September 2019 with information that the 2,765 weapons were seized in Debre Birhan. The weapons were seized from an Isuzu when on the way from Dessie to Addis Ababa. The original post can be accessed with the following link.

The second image was first published on 26 November 2020 on facebook by a name Debre Markos ዴንማርክ with the claim that the weapons were found in the house of a wealthy man who is among those who were involved in mass killings in Chagni. The post can be accessed with the following link. But, HaqCheck couldn’t find out the identity of the man in the image and prove and/or disprove whether he is the person claimed in the text or not.


Original Image One:

Original Image Two:

Granted, there have been inter-communal conflicts and following security deteriorations in the Metekel zone of the Benishangul Gumuz. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the images in the tweet and rated it as FALSE due to the usage of inaccurate images 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 initiative, which is run by its R&D Department.

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