In the third week of July 2023, several disinformation and controversial claims circulated on social media platforms regarding the ongoing conflicts in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

False claim of Fano militants capturing weapons

A Facebook post on July 10 claimed that Fano militants in the Debre Elias Woreda seized over 15 rifles from local militiamen and policemen who supported the government. The post further stated that the weapons were confiscated during a confrontation with pro-government forces. 

The Amhara region has been experiencing widespread armed clashes and unrest since recently. Protests erupted in the Amhara region following the Ethiopian federal government’s decision in April 2023 to disarm special police forces. This decision led to conflicts and armed clashes involving the Ethiopian government’s armed forces and informal armed militias in the region. Numerous casualties have been reported in recent armed confrontations.

The Amhara region’s East and West Gojjam zones witnessed conflicts and protests during the reported week. Both sides suffered casualties, with security personnel being responsible for protester deaths, while armed militias killed Ethiopian army soldiers.

Civil unrest occurred in Denbecha, Jiga, and Finote Selam in Gojjam, resulting in three fatalities and over 20 injuries. The clashes involved unidentified armed groups and government security forces. 

However, the claim that Fano militants in the Debre Elias Woreda confiscated over 15 rifles from local militiamen and policemen was rated as false since the accompanying image was outdated and did not support the claim.

Social media reports of fighting in Wollo

Reports of fighting between Fano militants and Ethiopian defense forces (ENDF) in Wollo, particularly in the town of Kobo, circulated widely on social media platforms. 

However, some of these social media posts contained misleading information, including the use of irrelevant images and videos. The proliferation of social media posts about the issue added to the complexity of understanding the actual situation on the ground. 


Social media users should be cautious when encountering instant claims and sensational news on their feeds. Before sharing or reposting such content, it is essential to question its authenticity and consider the source’s credibility. Users must take the time to verify the information from multiple reliable sources before passing it along to their networks. Users should prioritize seeking out original and reliable sources of information. 

Government agencies and institutions should provide timely updates and clarifications to the public and media. Regularly sharing accurate information can help combat the spread of misinformation. Government agencies need to uphold citizens’ right to access information in its entirety.

Social media content creators should prioritize accuracy and reliability when sharing information. They should refrain from participating in the dissemination of disinformation or sensationalized content that can further fuel conflicts and misinformation.

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