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Recycled video of bandits’ threat to church not recent

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Claim: An X user claims in a video that bandits have sent a letter to the Zamfara State police, ordering churches in Nigeria to close down.

Recycled video of bandits’ threat to church not recent

Full Text

Over the years, Nigeria has faced numerous attacks by unknown bandits and Boko Haram, with them frequently targeting churches in various regions of the country.

An X user (@cacagent) shared a video on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, of Zamfara State Commissioner of Police Ayuba Elkana confirming a threat letter to the church.

“Bandit(s) have sent (a) threat letter asking all churches in Nigeria to close down, that they own Nigeria and they want to take over their country back,” he wrote.

“Let’s be careful and security conscious, please,” he further advised.

Meanwhile, another user (@MbaAdol) posted the same video with a similar caption. The same assertion was spread on Meta’s end-to-end encryption messaging application, WhatsApp, and was recently verified by DUBAWA here

As of Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the post has generated 123 views and two bookmarks.

Due to the sensitive nature of the post, DUBAWA decided to investigate it.

Verification

We conducted a Google Reverse Image Search, and the result shows that the video has been online since 2021. Television Continental News (TVC News) uploaded the video clip on December 14, 2021.

Another video with a similar context was found on Facebook on July 7, 2022. Further findings show the same video with a similar narrative reported by the AIT channel on Facebook on Dec. 4, 2021.

Recycled video of bandits’ threat to church not recent
A screenshot of AIT’s reportage of the incident in 2021.

We conducted a Google search to get a detailed account of the 2021 event. We found a report by the Daily Post stating that a threat letter to attack churches in Gusau was dropped at the police command headquarters, which was later confirmed by the Zamfara State Police Command.

Vanguard also reported the incident that residents, especially Christians in the state, are planning to flee due to fear of attack.

Further probe shows that no credible media outlet in Nigeria outlet has published a recent report on any threat letter to the Christian body in Nigeria.

Conclusion

Our findings showed that the video of the threat letter sent by bandits to churches is an old video that has been online since 2021. The claim is false.

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