On 7 April 2021, a Facebook page named Sidaama Today (a page with more than 22,000 followers) made a post, showing three pictures. The first picture shows military vehicles with other pedestrian troops, the other two pictures show a line of different vehicles, military pickup cars, and buses. The post claims that the government is needing additional forces in the action that is being taken to destroy OLF Shene and they were stuck on the road. The text written in Amharic reads “Breaking news; Additional forces from the Amhara militia and Shabia forces that were heading to West Wollega and Kelem woreda in order to support the government’s intense action against OLF Shen, are forced to be stuck because the road was blocked. Today, the Oromo people are proving that they are on the side of the OLF.” HaqCheck has interrogated the claim and confirmed that the post is False due to the inaccuracy of the images to support the claim.
Following the attack that killed an unknown number of civilians in Bone Kebele, Babo Genbel Woreda, West Welega Zone of Oromia State on 30 March 2021, the Oromia regional state gave a statement on 31 March 2021, expressing deep sorrow to the government of the Oromia regional state and passed its condolences to the victims’ families and relatives. It was also stated that the OLF Shene is the one behind this terrorist act and according to the statement the regional state’s government responded quickly to the scene of the attack and retaliated against the perpetrators taking action once and for all. It was also reported that The Oromia regional state said it is working to bring peace to the region by beating and smashing the OLF Shene in 15 days.
However, a reverse image search of the image shows that the pictures were posted in the past with different scenarios. The first image can be found in a Facebook post by the official Facebook page of FDRE Defense Force, even though the date written in the image says “04/03/2021”, the picture was posted on 26 December 2020 with a story of a soldier that was injured during the “law enforcement” in Tigray. The other 2 pictures are found in another Facebook post by the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Transport – Ethiopia, posted on 3 February 2021 to give appreciation for the Civil bus drivers that helped the military by moving the forces in the “law enforcement” in Tigray.
Despite the reports that the government is “taking action” by attacking the OLF Shene, HaqCheck has confirmed that the Facebook post claiming that additional forces that were heading to attack OLF Shene are stuck on the road is False due to the inaccuracy of the image to support the claim.
Fact checked by: Rehobot Ayalew
This article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact-checking initiative, run by its R&D Department.