False: the image doesn’t show captured weapons by OLA

Facebook page with more than 180,000 followers posted an image with a caption saying that the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) had captured different weapons from the government forces. The post that was shared on November 1 received more than 1,900 reactions in under 24 hours and, by the time this article was published, had been shared more than 310 times.

HaqCheck looked into the post and rendered it as False.


The Ethiopian government designated the Oromo Liberation Army (aka OLF Shene) as a terrorist group along with the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) on May 1, 2021. The two groups announced their alliance on August 11. After the war in Tigray spread to the neighboring regions Afar and Amhara, TPLF started marching to different cities and towns including Dessie and Kombolcha. On November 1 OLA said they had seized the town of Kemissie, around 335 km from Addis Ababa. It was in this context that the Facebook claim appeared.

However, a reverse image search shows that the original image only shows a vehicle with 2 passengers. The image can be found in different Facebook posts, from August 6, 2021. Most of the images are posted by TPLF affiliated pages, along with other photos claiming to show captured weapons around Woldiya. However, the image in the post is ‘photoshopped’ into the original picture, by adding a photo of a group of soldiers. 

One of the ways to spot a photoshopped image is to take a closer look at the image. Red flags such as pixel differences, color variations, blurry edges, shadows, size relativity are tell-tale signs to give away an edited picture. In this particular case, seeing the way the soldiers are standing on the ground and how it doesn’t match with the size of the vehicle is one thing. The other thing is the shadow under the car which is a natural case that should also apply to people.

Therefore, due to the above reasons, the Facebook post claiming to show that OLA had captured weapons from the government is rated as False.  

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