Three images showing firearms and military clothes started circulating on a Facebook page on July 22, 2021. The post, published on a ‘personal blog’ page with 4,172 followers, claimed that firearms, ammunition, and military clothes had been recently captured from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Forces by the Afar Regional Forces. The post, which said it happened during an offensive against the TPLF, has gone viral, and more than 60 Facebook users have shared it.
HaqCheck has investigated the images and the post, confirming that one of the pictures does not show munitions seized by Afar regional forces from TPLF forces during a military operation recently conducted. While we have been unable to determine the veracity of the other two images, HaqCheck has rated the post as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate picture out of the three images.
On November 4, 2020, armed fighting started between TPLF-led regional and Federal government-led forces in Tigray. In the ensuing conflict, the federal army has controlled major areas in Tigray, but there have been reports of armed battles and guerilla attacks in the region. The Federal government captured and killed TPLF senior military and civil officials.
Late last month the Ethiopian government, following a request from the Tigray Interim Administration, declared a sudden unilateral ceasefire for “humanitarian purposes” and immediately withdrew its forces from the mainlands of the regional state.
After federal forces left the region, the TPLF-forces, rebranded themselves as Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), took control of urban centers of the regional state.
The TPLF-forces have been advancing southwards and southeast moving out of the heartlands of Tigray. Recently armed clashes have been reported in border areas adjacent to Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regional states.
Amid the situation, the Facebook post claimed that the munitions in the images were captured by Afar regional forces from TPLF-armed groups.
However, a Google reverse image search shows that the first picture of the three images doesn’t back the claim.
The first image shows 105 illegal light weapons which were seized on March 7, 2019, in Burayu, Oromia, on the way from Gambella to Amhara regional state via Addis Ababa. The image was posted by OBN Afaan Oromoo on the same day. Here is the link to the original image. HaqCheck couldn’t determine the accuracy of the second and the third images, which are the same image taken but rotated and altered into different dimensions (rotated image).
There have been reports of fresh armed conflicts in the areas that border the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the post and the images and confirmed that the first image of the three pictures was taken from another post three years ago which undermines the claim. HaqCheck has therefore rated the post as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate picture out of the three.