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Missing context: Old video showing soldiers torturing alleged terrorist, recirculated

Claim: Popular online media platform, SaharaReporters, recently posted a video showing Nigerian soldiers torturing.

Verdict: Missing context. The video has been online for a few years, and the Nigerian Army reacted to it in 2019.

Full Text

Since Boko Haram launched military operations in 2009, Nigeria has been bedevilled by insecurity stemming from the activities of members of the sect. The attacks by the organisation intensified after the death of Muhammed Yusuf, its founder. 

In Nov. 2013, the US State Department designated Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation. 

The group had attacked Northern Nigeria, particularly their security formations, schools, and churches, among others. This forced the Nigerian government to declare a state of emergency in May 2013 in three northern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. 

Media reports detailed how Boko Haram terrorists killed Nigerian soldiers and how the troopers had, in turn, launched a counterattack. Following that, there have been reports of power abuse by the Nigerian Army officials in their fight against terrorism, but the Army had repeatedly dismissed the claims. 

Recently, on Saturday, Oct. 28, a popular online media platform, SaharaReporters, tweeted a video that captured the moment officers of the Nigerian Army subjected a young man to a dehumanising treatment and later shot him dead. 

In the footage, the soldiers dropped the man from the booth of a pickup truck. The person was then dragged by one of the officials with the ropes tied to his hands and feet to a shallow grave, after which he was shot to death. One of the soldiers also made efforts to break the leg of the victim so the grave could contain the corpse. 

The officer suspected of capturing the video said in Yoruba and Pidgin, “Because of you, we left our hometown to meet you. Boss, let them beat him. God punish you. Because of you, we left our town. It will never be well with you. That’s how they do; you’ll see a soldier and slaughter him. Look at me; I came all the way from Epe (Lagos) to Maiduguri (Borno). Am I from Maiduguri?…”

The caption on the post by SaharaReporters reads, “Nigerian soldiers torture, execute man without trial, boastfully film dehumanising treatment.”

The media outlet did not provide any context to indicate the video was not recent, thereby causing confusion. 

This has elicited many responses on social media, both on X and Facebook. While some users were quick to point out that the video was old and had circulated social media some years ago, others, who seemingly believed it was recent, condemned the act by the army operatives. 

Some of the comments can be seen here, here, and here.

Verification

Using the INVID video verification tool, DUBAWA conducted a keyframe analysis to identify the source of the video and its release date. The result of the keyframe analysis showed the video had circulated on social media platforms in 2019, which attracted the outrage of Nigerians online. 

The story was posted on a popular online blog, Nairaland, specifically on Nov. 4, 2019, detailing the torture inflicted on the man by the soldiers. The poster further attached screenshots from the video. Another story on the same video was also posted here

Further results from the keyword search showed that the video was posted by popular human rights activist Deji Adeyanju on X on Nov. 5, 2019, a repost from another user, @akunnachux.

The video was also traced to a YouTube channel where it was posted on Nov. 4, 2019.

Following the outrage and condemnation by members of the public, the Nigerian Army reacted to the video at the time. The Army said it had started a “detailed investigation” into the issue. 

In a statement issued on Nov 4, 2019, the Army strongly condemned the incident, which it described as “completely unacceptable, unethical and is against the core values of the Nigeria Army, especially that of respect for others and their fundamental rights.”

At the time, the Army also noted that it would update the public about the actions taken against the officials involved in the video. 

The statement was further captured in news reports, as seen here, and here

Conclusion

Findings showed the video recently recirculated by SaharaReporters is almost four years old. Sharing it without providing context is, therefore, misleading. 

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