A Facebook post emerged on Feb 6, 2023, sharing an image with a claim that the picture shows a church destroyed in Tigray during the armed conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The post alleges that the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo churches were collaborators when churches were destroyed in Tigray during the war.
However, the image was very old and doesn’t prove the claim that it shows a church destroyed in Tigray during the recent war. HaqCheck rated the claim as False.
War broke out on Nov 3, 2020, between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF forces after the latter attacked Ethiopian military bases in Tigray.
On Nov 17, 2020, Ethiopian state-affiliated media outlets (EBC, Ethiopian News Agency) reported that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church expressed its support for the Ethiopian armed forces.
News reports indicate that churches were damaged in Tigray regional state during the armed conflict.
Amid the war, Orthodox Tewahido clergies in the Tigray regional state announced last year that they cut ties with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church.
On Jan 22, 2023, Abune Sawiros, Archbishop of South West Shoa, along with two others appointed 26 bishops without the recognition of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. The breakaway clergy announced that seventy bishops would be dispatched to churches in the Oromia regional state.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church denounced and excommunicated Abune Sawiros and other bishops who co-organized the appointment.
A few days later, the breakaway archbishops denounced and excommunicated twelve archbishops of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The split stirred up tensions in various parts of the country. VOA reported that conflict erupted in Shashemene town at a church and three people were killed.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church called upon its members to wear black for three days to protest against the breakaway group and alleged government involvement in the issue.
Against this backdrop, a Facebook post shared an image on Feb 6, 2023, claiming that the picture shows a church destroyed in Tigray during the war between the Ethiopian government and TPLF forces. The Facebook account has over twenty thousand followers and the post can reach many audiences.
However, the image was old and doesn’t support the claim that it shows a church destroyed in Tigray during the recent war.
The image shows a church in the town of Adi Keyh, Eritrea, destroyed during the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The picture was taken from a video published by Reuters in April 1999.
Later on, the post was edited and the image was replaced with three pictures. HaqCheck could not confirm whether the later three images prove the claim or not.Therefore, the post was rated False.