On 29 March 2021, a Facebook post by the name Nahoo Media ናሁ ሚድያ (a page with more than 33,700 followers) shared an image that shows many soldiers along with a line of caskets with the Eritrean flag on it. The text which is written in Amharic reads “ .. Leaving Tigray is not as easy as entering.” The picture was also circulating on other pages like Sidaama Today (a page with more than 18,500 followers) with different captions and the same context. The Amharic text written in the post reads “The Eritrean government is forcing 16-year-olds to go to war. It is not to be forgotten that the Eritrean army is dying in the war in Tigray.” However, HaqCheck has interrogated the claim and confirmed that the image below doesn’t show the Eritrean military being killed by Tigray special forces. Therefore, HaqCheck has rendered the post as FALSE due to the inaccuracy of the images to support the claim.
Granted, there has been conflict in the Tigray region between the Federal government and the TPLF led Tigray special police force and militia since 4 November 2020. There have also been reports claiming Eritrean soldiers have been involved in the military operation in Tigray supporting the federal government. Despite these claims, however, the Ethiopian government has repeatedly denied that Eritrean forces were involved in the military operation for a long time. However, On six working year 11th sessions of the House peoples’ representative held on 23 March 2021 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (P.h.d) stated in a parliamentary session that Eritrean troops had entered Tigray during the government’s “rule of law” Operation in Tigray, provoked by rocket attacks aimed at Asmara by TPLF forces. As the prime minister clarified, the Eritrean government crossed Ethiopian borders in order to prevent further attacks and maintain its national security. Following this, on 26 March 2021, during the prime minister’s visit to Eritrea, it was announced that the government of Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its forces out of the Ethiopian border.
It is in this context that the image was shared claiming the Eritrean army is being killed by Tigray regional special forces. However, a reverse image search of the picture used in the Facebook post doesn’t prove the claim. The image was first posted on Adal voice, an Eritrean online news outlet, on 19 June 2013 with a story of remembrance of Eritrean Army “Martyrs’ Day”. The original post related to the image can be found with the following link.
It is true that the government admitted Eritrean soldiers entered to Ethiopian border during the recent war in Tigray. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the claim and confirmed that the image doesn’t show the Eritrean army killed in Tigray, therefore, rendering the post as FALSE due to the inaccuracy of the image to support the claim.
Fact checked by: Endalk Teka
This article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact-checking initiative, run by its R&D Department.