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Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed

Claim: A WhatsApp video has a claim that bandits were roasted by lightning on their way to attack Christians in Zamfara state.

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed

Our findings show the video attached to the claim is from a tanker explosion that took place in Morogoro town of Tanzania, not Nigeria. The claim is therefore misleading. 

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In recent time, Nigeria has recorded killings perpetrated by terrorists. A church at Owo, Ondo State, and the ones that left three killed in Kaduna churches, prayers against banditry are not far-fetched from religious Nigerians. 

Posing as an answer to these prayers is a video of burnt bodies that circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook. Accompanying the video is a claim that this footage is of bandits who were struck by lightning while on their way to attack some christians in Zamfara state.

“It happened in Zamfara State yesterday. I was told the Bandits were going to attack some Christians on their way Lightning and Thunder struck and they were roasted beyond measure. Who told you there is no GOD?,”the message read. 

This video has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp groups alongside the caption. 

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
The claim has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp

On Facebook, this same message has been shared by several users who believed it to be true.

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
These Facebook users believed it was true

In the past, DUBAWA had found claims like this either false or misleading. Hence, the reason for this fact-check.

Verification

As of the time of this verification, no media platform in Nigeria has reported that bandits were struck by lightning. Usually, such an event would make headlines in newspapers. Seeing it has not been reported is the first red flag.

DUBAWA further observed that the viral claim neither stated the exact location of such happening in Zamfara nor disclosed the name of the Christian gathering the supposed bandits were planning to attack.

Further checks revealed that the exact video has also been used by a blog to paint a similar narrative in 2021. However, like the recent ones, it did not say where such an event happened in Zamfara State.

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
Screenshot of the claim published by a blog in 2021

After watching the video in question, DUBAWA could see an explosion scene which clearly negates the narrative of “lightning” and “thunder.”

Following that, a YouTube keyword search was conducted and among the many explosion videos that surfaced, a 2020 report by Al Jazeera and NTV Kenya was similar to the video being circulated.

Al Jazeera reported that 60 people were feared dead after a tanker exploded in Morogoro town, Tanzania. The tanker had earlier fallen and “people came to take what they could. But then, disaster,” it said. 

Al Jazeera also said that despite the help of emergency workers to save those that were caught up in the flames, it was too late and many were burnt beyond recognition. The motorcycles of people who came to collect fuel were also burnt.

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
Al Jazeera’s report in 2020

A side-by-side comparison of the circulating video and Al Jazeera’s report showed three similarities. Firstly, standing before the burning tanker are trees that have also been affected by the fire. Secondly, the tanker is lying in the same position as seen in the two videos. And thirdly, the two videos showed many burnt motorcycles.

Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
Comparison 1: On the right is a screenshot from the circulating video and on the left is Al Jazeera’s report
Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed
Comparison 2:  On the right is a screenshot from the circulating video and on the left is Al Jazeera’s report

In order to determine which language was spoken by the people in the circulating video, DUBAWA reached out to Muhammad Auwal, an Hausa-speaking Nigerian to translate what the people in the video say. However, not able to comprehend what he heard, he doubted if the speakers were Hausas. 

One of them responded, “I can’t actually understand what they are saying. Are you sure it is any of the Nigerian Languages? Is the scene Nigeria?”

Likewise, Abba Adamu, a Hausa staff member of Daily Trust newspaper confirmed that the language spoken in the video was not Hausa.

“It’s not Hausa,” he simply said after watching the video.

Conclusion

Our findings show the video attached to the claim is from a tanker explosion that took place in Morogoro town of Tanzania, not anywhere in Nigeria. The claim is therefore misleading.

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