A Facebook page with more than 150 thousand followers shared a post on May 31, 2022, captioned, “This is breaking news!! The TPLF did not loot and burn the property of Zemene Kassie’s mother when he escaped to Eritrea. But today, Abiy Ahmed’s government, whose seat and the people are rescued at turbulent times by Zemene Kassie, burnt and demolished the house of Zemene’s mother as such.” Zemene Kassie claims to be the leader of Fano, a volunteer Amhara youth militia.
By the time this article is published the post had more than 190 reactions and was shared more than 65 Times.
However, HaqCheck inspected the image and rendered it False.
Fano is the name for an Amhara youth volunteering to defend the Country. Fano responded to the government’s call to arms as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched a military offensive on the Amhara and Tigray regions. The group was armed by the government and was fighting alongside the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) during the war.
On Dec 20, 2021, Tigrayan forces fighting the central government said they have withdrawn from neighboring regions in northern Ethiopia, a step toward a possible ceasefire after 13 months of the brutal war.
On Mar 24, 2022, The Federal government declared a humanitarian truce in Tigray.
“Cognizant of the need to take extraordinary measures to save lives and reduce human suffering, the Government of Ethiopia hereby declares an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately.” the statement reads.
On May 25, 2022, the Amhara regional government releases a statement that internal enemies of the Amhara people are engaging in acts of violence, instability, and disorder in the Amhara region and, The people of the region have repeatedly called on the government to uphold the rule of law. Therefore the Regional government will work to fulfill its obligation and maintain the law and order.
Thereafter, different social media and news outlets were claiming that there had been an engagement between the Federal Government and Local Fano militias.
A popular English news website reported that Clashes broke out on March 6 in Mota town, in East Gojjam Zone of Amhara Regional State, leaving unknown numbers injured. Moreover, according to a news by Wazema Radio, tension was running high in the town following the arrest of the leader of the local Fano by government security forces.
The regional government however defended the actions as law enforcement measures taken against informal groups it claimed are working to destabilize the region. The President of the Amhara Region, Yilkal Kefale (Ph.D.), said, “The regional government has no intentions of disarming or attacking Fano.” He explained that the measures targeted those who are involved in criminal activities such as illegal arms trafficking, killing, and robbery.
Despite the Government’s assurance, federal and regional security forces were reported to conduct a crackdown on major Fano leaders arresting them and raising their houses.
On the other hand, A website called My views on news published a post on May 23 that Zemene Kassie warned the Federal Government.
Zemene Kassie, Fano militia commander warns the Ethiopian gov’t
Different social media posts were also observed reporting the properties of Fano Zemene Kassies’ families were destroyed by the federal and regional Forces.
A Facebook page with more than 180 thousand followers said in a post that Zemene Kassie’s brother Nebret Kassie confirmed government militias destroyed their property and left their 85-year-old Mom on the streets.
It was taking this background of the situation that the Facebook post emerged.
In an effort of counterchecking the claim, HaqCheck found the image alongside other three posted on Jan 23 previously on a Twitter account with more than 13 thousand followers captioned in Affan Oromo language, “These pictures show the damage the armed forces, who came here crossing the Nile, did to Oromo farmers in #Amuruu District of Horroo Guduruu Region.”
Even though there are several claims that the property of Zemen Kassies’ Family was destroyed by armed forces, the image used by the Facebook post to support the claim is wrong.
Thus, HaqCheck checked the image used to prove the claim and rendered it False.