The genesis of false claims about TDF drug use by misinformation axis revealed

Mereja.com, a supporter of Abiy Ahmed and Amharic centric ideology, printed a fake scientific study purporting to show Tigray Defense fighters use drugs and suffer terrible addictions.

There exists a vast misinformation propaganda mechanism of the Ethiopian-Eritrean-Diaspora axis involved in the current conflicts of Ethiopia, Tigray, and Oromia. In July 2021 there was an abrupt change in the fortune of war when the occupying Ethiopian forces had to make a hasty retreat from Mekelle and eastern Tigray. Abiy Ahmed’s explanation was that he wanted to give Tigrayan farmers a chance to plant crops even though Abiy Ahmed’s own appointed Tigray Interim Government revealed to France 24 that planting and farming were actually blocked. 

It was during this retreat that two excuses began to circulate in social media associated with support of Abiy Ahmed and Amharic centric thinking in support of the war on Tigray. We know that Facebook and Twitter have large populations of autobots created to look like real persons who run on algorithims. These are triggered by statements of the Ethiopia-Eritrean-Diaspora axis of misinformation. 

Claims began that Tigray was defeating the invading forces of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Eritrea, and mercenaries from Somali by using youth waves that were drugged. As a young man in the United States Army and a student of history a Texas A&M University we learned that well trained and coordinated infantry is what it takes to take and hold ground. Fire, move, cover are the key elements to infantry movement which must be choreographed exactly to match terrain, environment, enemy capabilities and responses. What you see in the Tigray are officers and non-commissioned officers who just a few decades ago fought well equipped larger forces backed by Russia in the same areas they are in combat today. They are well disciplined and well trained. 

Recently Abreham Belay, the so called Tigrayan Defense Minister for Ethiopia ( he is really of Shabia ancestry not Tegaru) had re-circulated that Tigrayan youth Tigray Defense Force prisoners where being drugged in their tea. Well a investigation has revealed where this fake news likely was launched. Looking back to July 2021 Mereja.com published a formal appearing post that looked like a scientific study with Western authors under the title, Tigray Culture of Drug Use in Battle and Devastating Addiction of Tigray YouthHowever when you actually read the article it is a review of the history of drug use by soldiers in various wars. There is no information presented about Ethiopia or Tigray. 

As I previously wrote, while the stimulant Khat is not grown or used by the Tigray, it is the second largest export of Ethiopia. In the Amhara and southern regions you can vendors in every street corner. It is also common knowledge that soldiers in Ethiopian National Defense Force in addition to their few hundred birr salary generally receive a guaranteed beer ration on a weekly basis.

Mereja.com claims to be the largest online Ethiopian journal and is based in Washington,DC . According to Apollo Services it has two employees, Elias Kifle and Habtamo Oda and has many visiting writers. Prior to Abiy Ahmed coming to power in 2018 it was frequently blocked from the internet in Ethiopia. 

 

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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