In the constant campaign of misinformation that characterizes the evolution of the conflict in Ethiopia between the federal forces and Tigrayan, between the end of November and the beginning of December has circulated on some Ethiopian sites the news of a deployment of Russian and Chinese military forces in Djibouti, with the aim of defending the borders with Ethiopia and support the government of Abiy Ahmed.
Completely unfounded, the news has been relaunched by many online newspapers, fueling an intense debate also in Djibouti, where the issues of the civil conflict in Ethiopia are the subject of particular interest.
The Djiboutian government, in particular, fears that the re-launch of fake news related to the evolution of the conflict could once again fuel the unrest that has already affected the Afar minority communities in the country on several occasions, triggering new episodes of violence.
The scarcity of independent professional media, together with the proliferation of online newspapers that often disseminate their articles only through social media, determines in the region – and in Djibouti in particular – a clear problem of verification and filtering of information, which often results in the propagation of false information.
In this specific case, the false news of the deployment of Chinese and Russian soldiers’ troops on the borders with Ethiopia would have been spread by online activists close to the TPLF government of Tigray, with the intention of accusing the Djibouti government of having indirectly participated in the last phase of the offensive launched by the federal government in Addis Ababa especially on the front of the regional state of Afar.