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Did Guinea Bissau President beat up a minister for squandering COVID-19 funds?

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A viral video claims the president of Guinea Bissau beat up a minister for Squandering COVID-19 funds.

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With the continuous spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), there has been a lot of  intervention for health sectors of countries coming from individuals, organisations, foreign bodies or the government itself. 

Recently, a viral video on social media shows a man being beaten up and with the claim  that the assaulter was the president of Guinea Bissau in West Africa.

The video, with accompanying texts, suggests that the president is beating one of his ministers who allegedly squandered coronavirus (COVID-19) funds.

The 18 seconds video which was shared with a text inserted at the top of the video reads, “President Guinea Bissau beating up a minister who squandered COVID-19 funds. I want this president”.

Guinea Bissau and COVID-19

Guinea Bissau recorded its first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 2020.  Subsequently, the Emballo led government declared a state of emergency on March 19 as part of its effort to curb the spread of the virus. This state of emergency has been extended repeatedly till September.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in August noted that the risk of COVID-19 is high in Guinea-Bissau and recommended that travellers avoid all nonessential international travel to Guinea-Bissau. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recruited four international health experts, to support the government of Guinea-Bissau in combating and effectively responding to COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Researching COVID-19 funding to know the kind of funds the country has received so far as COVID-19 intervention, several documents by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s  Fund (UNICEF) were found online but none could be accessed as they all suggested the pages does not exist or had been removed.

Screenshots of COVID-19 funding result for Guinea Bissau.

The country has received 15.0bn from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

The country is also a beneficiary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt service relief to 25 of its member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). This is part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A keyword search by Dubawa showed different results but only two: a youtube post and a Reddit post, were related to this video/claim. The Youtube post was made by Victor Mochere, who has over 4,0000 subscribers on September 22, 2020. So far, the video has generated 5,306 views and 20 likes.

Screenshot of Youtube post.

However, the Reddit post had been taken down with reasons clearly stated on the site that there’s no compelling reason to think that this video is what the linked website claims it to be. 

Screenshot Reddit’s post.
Screenshot of the website linked in Reddit’s post.

Dubawa also conducted a google reverse image search with screenshots from the video which showed several unrelated posts except for the post by Reddit.

The first results led to the twitter account of one @thebodjona in Accra Ghana.

Screenshot of @thebodjona’s Twitter account.

The search also led to another twitter account of @VuyooyuV

Screenshot of @VuyooyuV’s Twitter account.

The only related post from the reverse image search by Reddit has the same story and claim. 

An analysis of the video on Invid, a verification plugin that helps verify videos and pictures showed that the video was licensed as false content.

Screenshots of Invid’s analysis result.

Using the image magnifier to zoom into screenshots from the video, it was difficult to identify the face of the actor as the president of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Cissoko Embalo. Also, since the name of the said minster and the ministry he heads was not mentioned, it was impossible to cross-check if the person being beaten in the video looks like him or not.

Conclusion 

From Dubawa’s findings and analyses of the video, the claim that the president of Guinea Bissau beat up its minister over COVID-19 fund could not be substantiated. No evidence to back the claim.

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