Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed recently hosted a fellow head of state and was not in North Korea

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A post shared on Facebook in Ethiopia claims that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed left the country for an official two-day visit to North Korea. But the claim is false; during this timeframe, he was in Ethiopia, hosting South Sudanese President Salvar Kiir. A spokeswoman for Abiy told AFP Fact Check the last time he visited the Korean peninsula, although not North Korea itself, was in 2019. The photos of Abiy used in the post were taken on that trip in South Korea. 

The post was published here on Facebook on August 25, 2021, and has since been shared more than 130 times. 

Screenshot of the false post, taken on August 27, 2021

Written in Amharic, the post translates in part to: “breaking news: prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has paid an official visit to North Korea for two days (sic).”

Included are separate pictures of Abiy on a red carpet inspecting a guard of honour after alighting from an Ethiopian Airlines aeroplane and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But the claim that Abiy visited North Korea in August 2021 is false.

Home in Ethiopia

“The post is false, the prime minister has not visited North Korea in August 2021. But he made an official trip to the region when he visited South Korea back in 2019,” a spokeswoman for the prime minister's office told AFP Fact Check.

The official website for the prime minister’s office and Twitter accounts managed by Abiy and another by his staff make no mention of a recent visit to North Korea.

However, these social media accounts associated with Abiy show that he hosted South Sudan President Salvar Kiir in Ethiopia on August 26, 2021, for an official visit -- a day after the false post was published (see here, here and here).

The visit was covered by local and regional media outlets. 

Screenshot of post showing Abiy Ahmed hosting Salvar Kiir in Ethiopia on August 26,2021

Photos from South Korea trip

A reverse image search by AFP Fact Check found that the first two photos show Abiy in South Korea on August 25, 2019, when he arrived in the country for an official two-day visit.

According to reports in the local Ethiopian press, Abiy held talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on a range of bilateral issues.

The post also contains two photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The first one shows him inspecting a military parade on July 30, 2021, and is credited to Reuters, while the second is an old photo used in a 2012 article by the Institute for Policy Studies.