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Misleading! Video showing soldiers heading to Aba, not recent

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Claim: An X user raised the alarm with a video of armed soldiers in military trucks heading to Aba, Abia State, for reprisal.

Misleading! Video showing soldiers heading to Aba, not recent

Full Text

Recently, there have been reports of soldiers being killed in some parts of Nigeria and fears of reprisal by the public. On May 30, 2024, gunmen enforcing a sit-at-home order killed at least five soldiers in Aba, southeastern Nigeria, fueling concerns over escalating violence by non-state actors in the region. The soldiers were attacked at a military checkpoint by gunmen clad in black outfits, a move widely condemned by the government and military authorities. 

Speculations about possible retaliation and alleged harassment sent fears across the state, with some Nigerians calling for a professional approach to handling the situation. In response, the State Governor, Alex Otti, placed a bounty on the perpetrators to bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, on June 6, 2024, an X user, Obi Biafra (@ObiFran83678258), posted a 2-minute, 20-second video allegedly showing armed soldiers on military trucks heading out for a reprisal operation in Aba, Abia State. The vehicles, numbering about eight, could be seen coming out of what seemed to be a military base on a tarred road. 

The X user captioned the video:

“If your brother is in Aba, tell him to be careful. Biafra liberation army is waiting for them to arrive.”

As of June 15, 2024, the post had generated over 35,000 views, 520 likes, and 370 reposts. As seen in the comment section, some X users believed the claim, while others doubted its credibility.  

Misleading! Video showing soldiers heading to Aba, not recent

Verification

In the video, a man spoke in the background. Using TurboScribe, DUBAWA conducted a transcription of his words, which reads:

“This is the coming out of armed forces, special forces battalion moving for operation to Metele. May Almighty Allah protect you guys. This is the first emerald. No lau lau! No lau lau!! This is yellow bucket, no lau lau! no lau lau!! This is the second emerald. This is gallant TYC.”

The speaker mentioned that the soldiers were headed for Metele. A Google search on the location showed Metele as a village in the Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State.

Upon further investigation, it was found that the video had a TikTok watermark, indicating it was originally posted by a TikTok user, @asamu.abdullahi, on May 10, 2024, with the caption “Nigerian Army soldiers war 2018.”

A keyword search for “Metele Attack” revealed news reports from Nov 2018 by various credible local and international media outlets, which reported that several soldiers were killed at a military base in Metele. The massacre was conducted by a Boko Haram faction loyal to the Islamic State group, known as the Islamic State West Africa Province. The army also stated this on its verified Twitter handle, @HQNigerianArmy, on Nov 23, 2018.  

Conclusion

The video posted by Obi Biafra (@ObiFran83678258) is misleading. It shows soldiers heading for an operation in Borno State in 2018, not in Aba, Abia State in 2024. The claim that the video depicts a reprisal operation in Aba is false.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Bridge Radio 98.7FM, Asaba, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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