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False! Man beaten in viral video, not Burkina Faso’s former transport minister

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Claim: A viral video claimed that Vincent Dabilgou, former Minister of Transportation in Burkina Faso, was stripped and beaten in public by a mob for acts of corruption.

False! Man beaten in viral video, not Burkina Faso’s former transport minister

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Corruption and embezzlement of public funds are threats to democracy in Africa and are mostly the basis for most military takeovers on the continent. 

Sometimes, deposed politicians are made to go through public humiliation or execution. Even though public humiliation of government officials is rare and against the law, there has been a wide call for it to be adopted in Africa, just like in China, to deter officials from embezzling public funds.

It is no surprise that a video has gone viral on social media claiming that a former Minister of Transport in Burkina Faso, Vincent Dabilgou, was stripped and flogged in public after a court found him guilty of embezzling public funds while in office. The video was widely spread across social media platforms here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Reno Omokri, @renoomokri posted the video to his 2.5 million followers, saying, 

“Grace To Grass: The Barbaric Treatment Burkina Faso Meted To Vincent Dabilgou, Its Former Transport Minister,” he captioned the post.

The video, posted on June 8, 2024, had 212,400 views, 304 comments, 311 retweets, and 666 likes.

Commenting on the tweet, @nazirgaladanchi, said the treatment in Nigeria should be used to assess public officeholders.

Similarly, King Jorge (@GeorgeO85057554) stated that such an act should be meted out to every government official in Kenya, starting from the top echelon.

Another commenter, Attah Timothy Bash (@attah_bash), said he once witnessed how a person who committed theft was beaten to a pulp. Thus, he wished the same punishment could be given to those who steal with pens.

 DUBAWA decided to investigate this claim because of its potential to misinform the public.

Verification

In investigating the claim, DUBAWA observed a comment under @StreetSoccerIn2’s tweet that claimed the person in the video is not Mr Dabilgou but a Burkinabe business mogul, Apollinaire Compaoré. A tweet on X also supported the claim that it was Compaore.

Also, DUBAWA conducted a Google Image Reverse Search using keyframes of the video obtained from InVID WeVerify. Findings indicated that the video was first posted on an Instagram account, Congolese Visibility Report (@congolese_visibility_repost_), on May 29, 2024.

The video was captioned in French. Google Translate showed the caption, “This is how we must start treating the leaders of this country after stealing state money, as is happening now in Burkina Faso, the country of honest men.”

It was later posted on X by @X_Daily on June 6, 2024, with a different caption that the person was a former minister without stating his portfolio.

It stated that the minister was forced to show the location of his “booty” after admitting he embezzled some government funds. The victim expressed his readiness to exchange the money for his life.

It was not until June 8 that the video started appearing with captions mentioning Vincent Dabilgou: here, here, and here.

The caption said Dabilgou was sent to the public to be beaten thoroughly after he was allegedly found guilty of embezzling “€1.7 million and later sentenced to 11 years in prison.”

In the two posting trends, there was an element of copy-and-paste in the dissemination of the video.

Also, keen observation on his official Facebook page showed that Mr Dabilgou’s last post was on January 10, 2023. However, a search on the page showed that his pictures did not match those of the man in the video.

The man in the video has rotund physical features, while Dabligou is a lanky fellow. Similarly, Dabilgou has a scar on his forehead, but no such scar is visible on the face of the man in the video. In addition, DUBAWA observed that the man in the video is bald, while images of Vincent Dabilgou online showed him not to be bald.

On the claim that the man in the video is Apollinaire Compaoré, while it is observed that they both share some similarities in physical features, like baldness and rotund shape, it could not be ascertained that they are the same person as their faces look different. Also, DUBAWA keenly observed that Apollinaire Compaore looked older than the man in the viral video.

Also, a Google search using the keyword “former minister flogged in Burkina Faso” did not show news from any credible media organisation on the alleged beating of Dabilgou. This is in contrast to his conviction, which was widely published by mainstream news organisations.

A Google Search with the keyword “Vincent Dabilgou jailed” brought up news reports stating that a high court sentenced the former minister to 11 years in prison.

A report by Africa News quoted AFP that Dabilgou, who served as minister from 2018 to 2022 under the presidency of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré before he was overthrown in January 2022,  was charged with “embezzlement of public funds,” “illicit enrichment,” and “money laundering.”

The report said the court found him guilty of embezzling 1.12 billion FCFA (around 1.7 million euros) on Aug. 17, 2023. Mr Dabilogou was convicted in August 2023, whereas the viral video surfaced online in May 2024. This suggests that Mr Dabilogou was in prison before the video appeared online. 

In addition, DUBAWA contacted Diakaridia Siribiė, a journalist with Le Sidwaya, a daily newspaper in Burkina Faso. He confirmed that the victim in the video is not the former minister of transport for Burkina Faso.

“The Borrreaux accent and the victim are not from Burkina, but rather Ivoirien,” he said. 

He added that he was shocked by how the video was framed as a Burkinabe video.

DUBAWA contacted the Embassy of Burkina Faso in Ghana to ascertain if the man in the video was a former minister. But, as of the filing of this report, there was no feedback.

Conclusion

A thorough analysis and detailed observation show that the man beaten in the video is not Vincent Dabilgou.

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