On July 13, 2023, a TikTok user with over 13,000 followers published a post sharing a short video made up of a single image with an Amharic caption, “Abiy Ahmed’s [Ethiopian government] attack helicopter was shot down by Amhara people’s army [Fano militants] in Raya Kobo.”
By the time this article was published, the TikTok post had received over 10,000 reactions and had been shared close to 900 times.
However, HaqCheck inspected the image in the post and confirmed that the picture was old. Therefore, the claim was rated False.
On April 6, 2023, the Ethiopian federal government announced that it had decided that regional special police forces should be dissolved and integrated into the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, the Federal Police, or the regional police.
Upon the announcement of the dissolution of regional paramilitary forces, tensions arose in the Amhara regional state.
Armed confrontations, clashes, and public protests have taken place in the Amhara region protesting the federal government’s decision to disband regional special police forces.
According to various media reports, there have been armed clashes in many areas of the region and many people have been killed.
It was in this context the claim emerged on TikTok on July 13, 2023, alleging that Fano (informal armed militiamen) militants shot down an attack helicopter belonged to the Ethiopian government in Raya Kobo, in Northeastern Amahara regional state.
HaqCheck used a reverse image search to investigate the image-backed claim. However, the original image was found previously posted on April 16, 2013, in a news story published by the UK Daily Mail newspaper.
The picture was shared alongside a news article titled “US Marine helicopter with 21 onboard crashes on North Korean border as rogue state vows to destroy South with ‘sledgehammer blows’”
According to the article, the image shows a US marine transport helicopter crashed near the North Korean border in 2013. The helicopter crashed during a US-South Korea joint military exercise after North Korea threatened to attack South Korea.
Although there were recent skirmishes and unrest in the Amhara regional state, the image does not support the claim. Thus, HaqCheck rated the claim False due to its usage of an inaccurate picture.