A Facebook page with more than 70 thousand followers shared a post on May 14, 2022, with a picture captioned, “we have heard that several members of the [federal] defense forces have joined the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).”
By the time this article is published the post got more than 200 reactions and was shared more than 20 times.
However, HaqCheck has interrogated the image used to support the claim and rendered it False.
Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which is called OLF-Shane by the federal government of Ethiopia, was a military wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) from which it claimed to split independently later on May 1, 2021.
On Apr 9, 2022, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) released a statement urging the Federal government to resolve the armed conflict it is engaged in with OLF-Shane in peaceful terms and bring the armed group to the political space. The party also appealed to the government to stretch its hands of peace to OLF-Shane as it did in Tigray.
Several reports of summary executions and civilian casualties of airstrikes have been coming out of Oromia in the past weeks. Civilians continue to be targeted by government forces.
On Saturday 02 April, Colonel Girma Ayele, Coordinator of ENDF’s Southern Command, said that the army has launched a decisive action against the group. According to the Colonel, a coordinated operation against the group by the federal and regional forces resulted in the arrest of OLA members and confiscation of a variety of weapons and ammunition as well as medical supplies.
Different posts have been appearing with the claim that members of the defense forces, the federal police, and republican guards are splitting into ethnic lines and joining OLA.
Republican guards defected to OLA Link
The Ethiopian military has been separated from ethnic groups. Link
The Facebook post is, thus, published taking advantage of this situation as a context to justify its claim.
HaqCheck has looked into the image used in the post and discovered that the image was previously published on a Facebook page having more than 140 thousand followers as breaking news on Oct 31, 2021, with the description, “Abiy Ahmed’s defense force is completely destroyed. The soldiers spared from Dessie are handing over their weapons at Kemise managing to get transportation to central Ethiopia.”
Even though there are several claims that government forces are defecting to OLA, the image used by the Facebook page to support the claim is wrong.
For that reason, HaqCheck has checked the image and rendered it False.