Ethiopia violence: Facebook to blame, says runner Gebrselassie

2 mins read


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”.

Haile Gebrselassie
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. HI guys

    Ethiopia is filled with so many fake doctors, pastors,, managers and etc

    I find someone appointed as the head of a college and he claimed that he has TWO MASTERS DEGREE and he utters that he got his degree from CORLLIN , not CORNELL- placed 19th in the WOrld Univ rankings , which is a fake university.

    Saddly, the smartest people are dying in the desert being chased by the graduates of fake universities like so and so .

    Amharic have so many golden proverbs such as ” the hyena requested a hide in a strange land so that he could lie down .

    Fake doctors occupied well-paid jobs and holders of legal certified credentials are fleeing thier country and lead a miserable life.

    Church is full of fake doctors and masters degree holders such as …….Mahibrekidusan gang members, anti-oromo and other minorities working to restore amhar hegemony , etc . you know them some are spies as well.

  2. That why many top dogs like his excellency Mr Dr philosopher Abiy Ibin Gragn Ahmed , PM and award winner, perfer to do PHD and msaters online hoping to hold the fastest degree in 4 months even in 24 hrs . You just pay and order it like any package .

    Then You can easily claim a highly paid position in a public or religious organization.

    Poor people become slaves even in thier own homeland regardless of thier academic status.

  3. Why is the USA taking time to understand the JAWAR Mohammed (Terrorist= the use of intentional violence, generally against civilians, for political purposes.They have to do some thing before this Guy come to their Door. All peace loving Ethiopian especially who are in USA (tax payer) should call or write to their Representative about this Terrorist (Jawar)

  4. Jawar is the true son of Oromo. It is only the Neftegans and others biased with the continued propaganda of these Neftegna elites that calls Jawar as terrorists. A terrorist is, unless otherwise the meaning is changed by these neftegnas, one that incites conflicts among people without. There is no single word that Jawar uttered to his followers to kill others. But, conversely, the media of these Neftegna elements always propagate about their superiority and true defender of Ethiopia. They are doing so to confuse the innocent people that they stood for sustaining Ethiopia. But their objective is to sustain their old power as rulers Ethiopia that speak one language, Amharic and one religion, Orthodox Christian. Had Jawar been terrorist, at least one or two Oromos could have joined these Neftegna elements in condemning. It is rather the Neftegna elements that should be condemned for inciting conflict on peaceful demonstrators using guns , knives in an organized way. This was what has been done in Walatte, Adama, Mojo, Dukam and other Oromia towns. The Neftegns elements mercilessly killed, injured innocent oromo demonstrators and others simply walking on streets. These people are mercenaries who should be imprisoned and be accounted for the crime they committed. All neftegna media as well as their activities including Iskindir Nega, EZEMA members and ABN are behind the conspiracy that took place last week in Oromia. For the crime that was perpetrated by these elements, Jawar need not be asked.

  5. Habashooch! Binnikebaabbar Xiruu naw. Abren manoor kaaqaatan, meleyaayetuu saayishaal ayiqerim! Asibubbat! Oromoo sintuun iyetewe le abiroo menorr iyyeserra talkaaashaa gizeew yaallafebbatin nagar iyyaanessaachihu attaabbaxaabbixun!

  6. 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 .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.