On 12 January 2020 a facebook post by the Ethiopian Press Agency/The Ethiopian Herald (a facebook page with 39,253 followers) shared the image below with the claim that traffic is back to normal in Mekelle. It interviewed Ataklti Haileselassie, interim mayor of Mekelle city before stating that traffic has been restored following the arrest news of senior TFLF leaders. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the post and confirmed that the image doesn’t show traffic returning back to normal in Mekele rating it as FALSE.

Since 4 November 2020 there has been armed fighting between the TPLF-led regional forces and Federal government-led forces in Tigray. The federal government has controlled the regional capital city, Mekelle on December 28, 2020. It has also recently announced that it was rapidly capturing senior civil and military officers of the TPLF. Some of the senior civil and military leaders of the TPLF-led force have also been arrested. It is also true that upon controlling the capital of Tigray on 28 November 2020, Ataklti Hailesillase was appointed as the interim mayor of Mekele by the Provisional Interim Government of Tigray.

In this context, the facebook post by the state news outlet emerged claiming traffic has returned to normal following the capture of senior TPLF leaders. However, a google reverse image search of the picture doesn’t show the scenes in Mekelle. To the contrary the picture was taken 15 years ago. The image which depicts a street in the heart of the city was taken in Mekelle city on 12 March 2006 and first published on Wikimedia Commons, an online file-sharing platform on 17 January 2007. The original post related to the image can be accessed with the following link.

Granted, there are claims by the government the war is over and former TPLF leaders are indeed being captured at the time the facebook post was shared. However, HaqCheck has interrogated the post and confirmed that the image doesn’t show traffic being back to normal in Mekelle city and therefore rated it as FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image.

Fact Checked by: Hagos Gebreamlak

Edited by: Bruck Negash Teame

The following article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact checking initiative, which is run by its R&D Department.

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