FACT-CHECK: The African Union Commission is not relocating its secretariat from Ethiopia

The commission has dismissed the claim.

2 mins read
In Summary
  • According to the post, the internal memo addressed to the AU staff asked them to immediately leave Addis Ababa until further notice
  • The tweet does not, however, carry or link to the internal memo it quotes

A Tweet claiming that Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission chairperson, called for the temporary relocation of the Commission and its staff from Ethiopia is FALSE.

The African Union is headquartered in Ethiopia where armed conflict has raged since November 2020.

According to the post, the internal memo addressed to the AU staff asked them to immediately leave the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, until further notice and to carry their valuables with them.

“Evacuate while you can, as airspace might be closed in the coming days,” reads the tweet.

 The tweet does not, however, carry or link to the internal memo it quotes. A screenshot of the tweet was also shared on Facebook with a link directing to it.

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The tweet is shared in the context of media reports, including this one from Deutsche Welle, that say The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is advancing towards the capital. On 2 November 2021, Ethiopia’s cabinet declared a nationwide state of emergency amidst escalating tension. However, according to the cabinet statement, this does not affect diplomatic immunities and privileges enjoyed by intergovernmental organisations and their staff.

In a statement on November 5, 2021, Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson of Mr Mahamat, dismissed the claim that the AU has called for the relocation of its headquarters out of Addis Ababa.

“The African Union Commission has learned of the existence of a report circulating on social media purporting to be an official internal memo attributed to the Chairperson of the Commission, allegedly calling for a temporary relocation of the Commission and its staff from Ethiopia. The said report is fake news and has no basis in fact nor form,” reads the statement.

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