Ethiopia violence: Facebook to blame, says runner Gebrselassie

Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie has told the BBC that fake news shared on Facebook was behind violence in which 78 people died.

Trouble was sparked when an influential activist from the Oromo ethnic group, Jawar Mohammed said the authorities were endangering his life by removing his bodyguards.

The violence had ethnic and religious elements, the government said.

Gebrselassie said he could sue Facebook if they fail to remove certain posts.

The double Olympic champion was not explicit about which posts he was referring to, but told the BBC in the capital Addis Ababa that “fake news is easy to spread”.

Referring to the death toll, the 46-year-old added that “the main cause I believe was Facebook”.

I know my people, they don’t do such awful things”
Haile Gebrselassie

Days of violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, which saw some people sheltering in churches, followed the accusations made on Facebook by Mr Jawar.

The police initially denied that it put his life in danger, but Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed later indicated that the police had acted incorrectly.

Graphic images, purporting to show the results of the trouble, began to circulate on social media.

Gebrselassie said he thought the pictures were not of Ethiopians. “I know my people, they don’t do such awful things,” he said.

‘Ethiopia should be careful’

Some fake videos had been shared, including one of a claim that a local official was arming young men, the BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal in Addis Ababa says.

Despite calls by the Nobel Peace Prize winning prime minister for unity, ethnic tensions are threatening to spill out of control.

Gebrselassie, who is now a successful businessman, warned that Ethiopia has “to be careful” saying that the genocide in Rwanda was not that long ago.

He also mentioned the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen as examples of what could happen if things get out of hand.

The authorities have arrested more than 400 people in connection with October’s violence and the trouble has subsided.

Facebook has not responded to Gebrselassie’s accusations, but the company has a policy of “working to fight the spread of false news”.



  1. “Defence Ministry,” now is trying to hire Querro in a vacancy that came out specifically designed for Querro. Vacancy came out in the same weekend while more dead bodies are being found from the recent genocidal killings by Querro.
    WHY now?
    Why no date on the vacancy?

    “Defence Minstry” might as well say it out loud like this Bluntly :”I do not want to hire but I want to hide Querro, hide them from possible prosecution or even possible retaliation, then if the Querro last through the trainings which is highly unlikely unless I Defence Ministry let them cruise through trainings with I Defence Ministry help in falsifying their trainings results just so right after graduation I Defence Ministry gladly want to order the Querro (: s s Schutzstaffel ) to be continuing their genocidal spree killings using technologically modernized ways.”

    Querro doesn’t support political party it only supports Jawar and genocide, so Querro qualifies to hide as soldiers , while the truth is Querro had done more damage than almost all political parties in the country , but according to this vacancy posting that came out within a week after the Querro barbaric genocide, Querro members are allowed to join while the other political party affiliated members supporters are not.

    Plus as if right now the police or legal system works to uphold the law the vacancy says ” only those that have no litigation in court should apply” , the truth is the only people being litigated are honest people definitely not Querro.

    WHY now?
    Why no date on the vacancy?

  2. I would like to say a word or two to all my dear countrymen/women. The old country has gone through so much in its contemporary history particularly since the 1970’s. It had managed to survive one calamity after another to get here. It had one ‘re-defining’ moment in the late 1980’s that culminated in its dramatic change a few years after that. By then the world had made up its mind including its former allies that it had to change. It looks it is facing the same scenario today. There are two leaders competing for legitimacy over the same country. When one is saying yes the other one will soon rebut that with a resounding no. When one says ‘let’s move on’ the other is right there to say ‘No because I have a lot to talk about the past’. When one says the people over there has shown the world how to live in harmony and the other one tells him that the people there were in constant conflict because of virtual colonial oppression. When one tries to attest that at the moment he is the leader but the other one tells him ‘not so fast!!’ When one tells the citizens that some individuals have broken the law, the other one come back telling him ‘So what! Others had broken the laws for many years in the past too. ‘I’m the leader! No you’re not! I’m the real leader and there is nothing, nothing you can do about! You better be careful! You are a sissy and I’m a battle hardened fighter. You wanna do something about it? Step right down and try me. You sissy!!! I have my hommies in your house from top down. It is not like the good ole days. I have the Sebhat’s, Debre’s and all their entourage in my pocket! You are only good as a dead man walking!!! You just saw what fearless fighter did to your books!!!’ This seems to be the reality on the ground in the old country now.

    Let’s face it. For all intents and purposes one region has already seceded. Politically there is the ‘Republic of Tigray’ now. Now we should all be prepared to see another undeclared ‘Republic’ very, very soon. The preliminary work has been done already. The administration has been successfully infiltrated and snapped away from the very top all the way to the bottom by those on mission to facilitate the process. I have same feelings today that I had in 1989/90 that the world including the friendly ones had determined that the old country has to go thru fundamental changes. Once again, the rehearsal is going on big time now. The animosity has been allowed to go on to the brink of beyond repair. That was very intentional for a planned excuse in the future. I might have been so naive to expect otherwise. I just want to advise you to prepare yourself. She will be gone as we know her today. The 2nd process is in full swing away from the cameras and watching eyes. A child born today will not know what it looks like now 10-15 years from now. By then thankfully I may not be around to see it all unfolded already.

  3. Mengistu Hailemariam was not only sued but also was prosecuted and sentenced in absentia. Maybe Haile is intending to sue Facebook in absentia too.

    Personally I think Haile just wants to scare Mo Farah away from trying to go in legal battle with him , this opportunity got Haile more connected to internationaly credible lawyers NOT ONE OF THOSE FAKE LAWYERS ETHIOPIA GOT.

    Mo Farah law suit against Haile about allegations of theft might come up soon and Haile got lawyers he can trust in his corner now .


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