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Fact Check - Was This Helicopter Shot Down in Mille, Ethiopia?

By Nyakerario Omari

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed on November 11, 2021, that it shot down an MI-35 fighter helicopter in Mille town in Ethiopia. Piga Firimbi looks into these claims to establish their legitimacy.


Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is an ethnic nationalist group, which emerged as a small militia of Tigrayans. A year ago, on November 4, 2020, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a military attack against the TPLF and its security forces after this group captured federal military bases.

According to the New York Times, this conflict has now forced more than 2 million people from their homes and driven parts of Ethiopia into famine. On October 24, 2021, Ethiopia conducted two airstrikes in the Tigray region. One on the Western side targeting the training site of the TPLF and another to the North, targeting its military manufacturing facility.


Reverse image searches show this image appeared on the internet as early as October 23, 2016, in an article by The Times. According to The Times, this was taken during a war in Iraq. From these two images, Iraq’s flag can be spotted on the bottom side of the helicopter.

(See screengrabs below).

Additionally, Ethiopia Current Issues Fact Check flagged these claims through their Twitter handle.


This image claiming to show a helicopter shot down in Mille, Ethiopia is FALSE.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.




WanaData is a Pan-African network of female journalists, data scientists and techies working on changing the digital media landscape by producing and promoting data-driven news while applying digital technologies in their storytelling.

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