A Twitter account with more than 130 thousand followers shared a post with an image on May 31, captioned, “The fascist group [rule] of Abiy Ahmed has crossed the red line”, indicating that government forces destroyed a church recently. The attached image depicts a damaged chapel building.
By the time this article was published, the post had more than 700 reactions and was shared more than 350 times.
However, HaqCheck inspected the image and confirmed the image doesn’t prove the claim. Thus, the claim was rendered False.
On Apr 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.
There have been armed clashes and public protests in the region opposing the federal government’s decision to disestablish regional special police forces.
Amid the crisis, Girma Yeshitla, the head of the Amhara Prosperity Party was killed. The Ethiopian government accused armed militias, commonly known as Fano, of assassinating the senior party official and vowed to take serious measures.
After the incident, there were unconfirmed social media reports that there were armed confrontations in various areas in the Amhara regional state following alleged government armed forces deployment in the region.
News reports indicate an armed conflict in a monastery named Debre Elias in the Eastern Gojjam zone of the Amhara region and monks and some other people were killed in the clash.
Against this backdrop, a claim emerged circulating across different social media platforms that the federal government has launched heavy artillery attacks in the monastery.
HaqCheck looked into the image to see if it proves the claim. However, HaqCheck found out that the picture was previously published on Facebook and it doesn’t support the claim.
The image was first shared on Facebook on Nov 30, 2022, with a description that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces were digging trenches around a church in Kobo, Amhara region.
Granted that there was an armed confrontation in which many people were killed, the image doesn’t show the monastery was destroyed by government forces recently. Therefore HaqCheck rated the claim as False due to the usage of an old picture.