A viral Facebook post appeared on June 21 sharing an image with a claim that Somali regional forces recently killed militants of AlShabaab in the Elekere woreda of the Somali Regional State. The claim stated that the Al Shabaab militias entered the Somali regional state in 14 vehicles and they withdrew to the Bakool region of Somalia after they suffered a major defeat by the Somali regional special police force.
However, HaqCheck confirmed that the image doesn’t prove the claim and was taken from an old publication.
Al Shabaab is a military organization formed in the mid-2000s in Somalia and designated as an Islamist terrorist group by the United States of America and many other countries since 2008.
At the request of the Somalia transitional government, Ethiopia sent forces to Somalia in Dec 2006 and removed Al Shabaab from Mogadishu.
Ethiopian federal and regional forces have maintained a presence within the territories of Somalia. Regional special police forces of the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia are still deployed in the Bakool region of northwestern Somalia as part of a security pact between the two countries.
The United States government also maintained a contingent attack against Al Shabaab armed groups in Somalia.
This week, the US military claimed that it killed two Al Shabaab fighters in a recent airstrike carried out over the preceding weekend.
However, Al Shabaab remained active and mainly operates in South-central and south-western areas of Somalia.
On May 2, 2022, Al Shabaab carried out a deadly attack on African Union peacekeeping forces in southern Somalia and killed tens of African Union peacekeeping soldiers.
VOA reported on July 20, 2022, that fighting erupted between Al Shabaab militants and Somali regional special police forces, in areas along the Ethio-Somalia border, in the northwestern region of Bakool, within the territory of Somalia.
It is in this situational backdrop the viral report emerged claiming that military engagement recently erupted in the Somali region of Ethiopia between Al Shabaab militants and regional Somali special police force and Somali regional forces killed militants of Al Shabaab in the Elekere woreda of Somali regional state.
However, HaqCheck found out that the image used in the report was old and doesn’t show a recent military engagement between Al Shabaab militants and the Somali regional forces.
The image was first published on May 24, 2018, on a site named Puntland Mirror, a self-described independent news outlet based in the city of Garowe, Puntland’s capital. It was published in a short news story that heavy fighting erupted between Puntland and Somaliland forces in the Sool region of Somaliland.
Therefore, HaqCheck rated the post False due to the usage of an inaccurate image that doesn’t prove the claim.