The Situation in Ethiopia Has Given Rise to Fake News

With the Ethiopian government conducting a military offensive in the northern Tigray region, some people have taken the opportunity to spread misinformation online. Some have been sharing photos they say show an S-400 Russian missile defence system, claiming it is in use in the Tigray region to ward off Ethiopian air attacks. They also claim a Russian-made flamethrower system is being used. Hundreds of Facebook users have been sharing a picture purporting to show a downed Ethiopian military plane burning on the ground. One post says: “Tigray special forces were attacked from the air. Some have been sharing photos from the site where a civilian Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crashed, killing more than 150 people shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa in March last year. A misleading Facebook post – now deleted – claimed they showed body bags near the Tigray region, containing the remains of soldiers from the neighbouring Amhara region. There’ve been militia forces from Amhara fighting along with Ethiopian government forces. But other users pointed out correctly that these images were nothing to do with the current fighting in the Tigray region.

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