A Facebook page with over 5,000 followers shared a video on August 28, 2023, claiming the Cheif of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), Field Marshal Birhanu Jula said that Fano militants seized ENDF weapons including tanks and artilleries. The Facebook post went viral, with over 90 thousand views and close to 1.3 thousand reactions by the time this article was published.
However, HaqCheck investigated the post and found that the video was old and did not support the claim. Therefore, HaqCheck rated the claim as False.
In April 2023, the Ethiopian government decided to dissolve regional special forces and merge them with other security institutions. This caused protests and unrest in the Amhara region, leading to ongoing clashes between government forces and Fano militia groups.
The security crisis worsened when the federal government ordered the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) to take action against “extremist” groups after the head of the Amhara Prosperity Party, Girma Yeshitla, was killed by unidentified armed individuals in late April.
In August 2023, the armed conflict in the Amhara region escalated as Fano militants gained control of several cities and towns in the region. In response, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency and deployed armed forces to reverse the situation. While the government managed to retake major cities and towns from armed insurgents, armed confrontations and fighting have continued in the region.
HaqCheck observed social media claims alleging that Fano militants were capturing weapons and routing ENDF troops. However, some of these posts were accompanied by false and old images.
Against this backdrop, a Facebook page shared a short video clip in which Fiel Marshal Birhanu Jula is heard saying “They took countless weapons of ours including our tanks and artilleries”, with a claim that the chief of staff had recently said that Fano militants seized weapons from the ENDF during the ongoing conflict. The short video clip was used to prove a narrative that ‘even the chief of staff confirmed that Fano militias were capturing ENDF weapons’.
However, HaqCheck confirmed that the video clip does not support the claim. The clip was taken from a video published on YouTube in October 2021 by the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT). The video is an interview with the chief of staff about the armed conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government at the time. In the video, Field Marshal Birhanu Jula says that the TPLF forces took countless tanks and weapons from the ENDF.
Therefore, HaqCheck rated the Facebook post as False.