Military

  • Expressway, other projects credited to ousted Guinean President Alpha Conde false

    Claim: A viral Facebook message has been crediting ousted Guinea President Alpha Conde for some infrastructural development in Guinea with photos of an expressway and a couple of buildings captioning it “See what Alpha Conde Did for Guinea.”

    A quarter of the photos are not of Guinean infrastructures and the ones that are include some projects that were not built during Alpha Conde’s era.

    Full Text

    Following the September 12, 2021 coup d’etat that ousted Guinean President, Professor Alpha Conde from power, social media have been awash with several messages relating to the coup. Whilst a number of the photos captured and shared online  have been related to the coup that was led by leader of the Special Force Lieutenant Colonel Mamadi Dumbuya,  some of images are completely detached and unrelated to the events unfolding in the Francophone West African nation.

    A photo of an expressway and several luxurious projects have been circulating with the caption “See what Alpha Conde has done for Guinea.”

    The photos have been  published by a Facebook page, SL Blog, with the caption “I will never leave Guinea in the hands of the bandits. Says Alpha Conde. See below what Professor Alpha Conde did for Guinea” and has so far seen over 417 likes and shared 40 times.

    Professor Alphas Conde ascended the seat of power when he won the 2010 general elections in Guinea and had served for over a decade winning two terms before setting up a referendum to have the constitution favor his third term bid. The referendum which was mired in controversies was overwhelmingly in his favour and made him eligible to contest for a third term which he did and won amid protests and violent clashes. 

    Verification

    A Google reverse image search shows the expressway has no connection to Alpha Conde and Guinea. It is an Algerian road project which  Algerian Minister of Public Works in 2014, Mr. Abdelkader Kadi, launched to the east-west motorway and the port of Mostaganem.

    Algerian Expressway

    “This 66-kilometer long road, which will link the east-west highway at the Hmadna interchange, will cross the localities of Hmadna, El Hamri, Khelaifia and Sidi Khettab to the east of the wilaya of Relizane and Oued El Kheir , Ouled El Bachir and Kheireddine in the wilaya of Mostaganem,” said the Minister of Public Work Mr. Abdelkader Kadi in 2014.

    A second image of a power plant also accredited to Professor Alpha Conde in the viral Facebook post is equally misleading as the dam attached is not a Guinean property. Using Google reverse image search, we identified the dam as the INGA hydro plant connected to the Inga Fall in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    Photo of Inga Dam in DRC.

    Other photos

    Whilst some of the images like the Grand Mosque and the Hotels are Guinean infrastructures, not all can be credited to Alpha Conde. 

    The Grand Mosque “Grande Mosquée Fayçal” which is the fourth biggest Mosque in the World and is located in Conakry was built in 1982 under Ahmed Sekou Turay while the Riviera Hotel was established in 2001, nine years before Conde took power. 

    Riviera Hotel
    Images of  Grand Mosque, Twin Tower and Hotel Kaloum in Conakry.

    The image below, identified as the  Hotel Palm Camayenne is equally a Guinean project. This hotel was built by Russians in 1964 and went through different phases of refurbishment and management. It remained a state property until 2011 when it was reported that it had been bought by a Lebanese businessman, Michel Charter.

    Sheraton Grand Conakry

    This image below is actually a Guinean infrastructure and it is the Sheraton Grand Conakry Hotel that was launched sometime in 2016. The Sheraton Grand Conakry Hotel marks Marriott International’s entry into Guinea and joins a portfolio of more than 35 Sheraton Grand properties worldwide, with destinations spanning Istanbul, Dubai, Bangalore, Beijing and beyond. This is therefore a private business venture and directly attributing it to Alpha Conde’s successes is misleading.

    Sheraton Grand Conakry

    This next image is the Grand Diamond  Plaza located in Kipe in Conakry  and was actually commissioned by ousted President Alpha Condeh as sitting president and the CEO of CDG Yao Tianping  in 2015. This was a China Dreal Group (CDG) real estate investment and it is popularly known as the International City of Conakry.

    Plaza Diamond Kipe

    Whilst most of these infrastructures are found in Guinea, it is clear from the analysis that they are private projects and investments-mostly hotels. Some of them were as well not done during the presidency of Conde and therefore not part of what President Alpha Conde has done for Guinea as captioned by the facebook post.

    Conclusion

    The images of infrastructural gains accredited to President Alpha Conde in the screenshots above are misleading.

  • Repentant Boko Haram members not paid N150,000 monthly

    Claim 1: Repentant Boko Haram are paid N150,000 monthly

    FALSE. Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150, 000 monthly remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective vocations. 

    Claim 2: Soldiers are paid N65,000 monthly

    FALSE. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, soldiers in Nigeria earn N70,000 and above. 

    Full Text

    A twitter forum, PDP Vanguard (@PDPVanguard), with over 91,000 followers, claimed that repentant Boko Haram members earn N150,000 monthly. 

    The twitter forum has its bio as “Official Twitter Handle of #PDPVanguard Forum. Dedicated 4 @OfficialPDPNig.” 

    “Something that you can only found in @MBuhari”s Nigeria: Soldiers are being paid 65,000 as monthly salaries; while repentant Boko Haram terrorists are being paid 150,000 as monthly stipend,” the tweet reads. 

    The tweet claiming repentant Boko Haram members earn N150,000 monthly 

    This claim has also been amplified by other twitter users such as Nubari Saatah (@Saatah), who tweeted, “So ‘Ex militants’ are paid less than 100k monthly stipend and ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members are paid 160k? Omo. Shame dey catch me everyday for this Niger Delta.”

    Another tweet amplifying the claim

    Similarly, another twitter user, Demagogue (@von_Bismack) claimed the repentant Boko Haram earns N150,000 monthly.

    “How can the FG propose  to pay “Repentant” Boko Haram members 150k monthly? What’s the basis? This is rubbish. Our policemen, service men, civil servants and Corp members are not even paid such? It appears being a militant is more lucrative than any other enterprise in Nigeria,” he tweeted.

    Another tweet amplifying the claim

    Brief on repentant Boko Haram members 

    The Federal government of Nigeria, through the Defence Headquarters, inaugurated Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) in 2015. 

    Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) posited that the programme’s aim was to rehabilitate Boko Haram militants and reintegrate the “repentant” ones back into their respective communities as productive law-abiding citizens. 

    “The defecting members will acquire vocational training and access training in civics and de-radicalisation, to become useful members of their society upon release from the program. Since OSC’s commencement in May 2016, many have expressed strong reservation and criticism against the programme,” CDD stated. 

    The International Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that the Nigerian military is waging the Boko Haram war with kinetic and non-kinetic strategies.

    The Centre reported that kinetic is the hard-knock Operation LAFIYA DOLE; the non-kinetic is the soft-slap Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.

    “Operation SAFE CORRIDOR is what its name says: providing repentant members of Boko Haram/Islamic West Africa State Province a SAFE CORRIDOR to return to society,” the Centre reported. 

    In July 2020, the Defence Headquarters announced that it reintegrated 601 repentant Boko Haram terrorists including 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger into the society through their respective national and state authorities.

    The Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa, said that the concept of Operation Safe Corridor was a unique non-kinetic operation aimed at giving hope to ex-combatants, who willingly give up their arms to embrace peace.

    But how true is the claim that they earn N150,000 monthly? 

    Verification

    The Federal Government has debunked the claim that repentant Boko Haram members are on a monthly remuneration of N150,000.

    The Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, posted on his twitter handle, @BashirAhmaad, that the claim that repentant Boko Haram members earned monthly remuneration is false. 

    “FAKE NEWS ALERT: The Federal Government is NOT planning to start paying repented Boko Haram members N150,000 monthly, the story is baseless and should be regarded as the usual fake news. When you see it here or on WhatsApp, ask the poster to provide a credible source of the story,” he tweeted

    The FG’s tweet debunking the claim

    Similarly, a report published by Daily Post Nigeria also debunked the claim

    Similarly, the Special Assistant to thePresident on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that repentant Boko Haram members have not been employed in the Military and this also means the said monthly remuneration would not also be for those employed in the military.

    “None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme, is admitted into the military. This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military,” Shehu said

    However, contrary to the claim that repentant Boko Haram members receive N150,000 stipend, the Government of Borno state has revealed that the repentant terrorists reintegrated into their communities were given N20,000 stipends and some basic equipment to start their respective vocations.

    The Borno State Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jatau, said the funds and the starter packs were given to the repentant terrorists by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the International Organisation for Migration.

    Meanwhile, in February, 2020, Vanguard reported that following the commencement of the payment of the new minimum wage in January 2020, a Private Soldier was paid the sum of N50, 000 as salary, with only N2,000 increment from the previous N48,000 salary.

    The report said the Private Soldiers were underpaid compared to their colleagues in the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force, who received the sum of N74,000 each, translating to an increment of N23,000.

    A subsequent report by Vanguard revealed that the discrepancy was sorted out, thereby bringing the salary of a Private Soldier to N70,000 currently. 

    Conclusion

    Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150,000 remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective trades. Meanwhile, the claim that soldiers in Nigeria earn N65,000 monthly is False. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, Soldiers in Nigeria currently earn N70,000 and above. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.  

  • Horrid footage showing killing of naked woman is not from Nigeria

    In a viral video shared by a user on Twitter and other social media platforms, there is a claim that the gruesome killing of a certain woman was carried out in Nigeria by the Boko Haram Jihadist terrorist group.

    The claim that  the gruesome murder of a certain woman was carried out in Nigeria by members of the Boko Haram Jihadist terrorist group is false. Analysis carried out on the video using online tech tools and reports gathered from credible media, proved the scene took place in a small town in Mozambique, not in Nigeria. 

    Full Text

    Since the inception of Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, one thing that has remained prevalent is the frequent news of terror. Though this is even predominant in the northeastern parts of the country, the headline to such news extends mostly to Nigeria as a whole and not just a part of it. Thus, it is easier to attribute such lingering terror stories to Nigeria whether or not it suits the narrative. 

    Such a story was shared on Twitter by @bestbiafra Bestbiafra in a video format. The video shows four armed men in chase of a terrified naked woman, beating her, and then killing her with at least 36 gunshots. The men in the picture wear what appears to be a military camouflage uniform.

    The gruesome video drew tons of reactions and comments from multiple Twitter users who shared diverse opinions. 4,800 views, 473 retweets, 49 comments, and over 215 likes. 

    In what appears to be the showcase of both despair and doubts towards the video, Blackfire @porschewillie, a user, argued that “First of all .. Let’s not judge this video by the content of what we see in it. We don’t know what the woman might have done Or who she is. We ain’t sure if those jiggy are actual soldiers So y’all should relax”.  However, another user, Martin C Chiaha @ChiaChukwuma who seem to subscribe with the video commented that: 

    “The worst atrocities in human history is going on in Nigeria under the watch & sponsorship of Nigerian government led terrorist #BokoHaram Bandits operate day & night killing #Christians & #Biafrans Enough is enough all we want is #BiafraExit @realDonaldTrump @UN @AngelaMerkeICDUtagging multiple prominent world leaders.

    Yet, what is even more alarming is the fact that such claims are enough to trigger panic in the society, plant fear in the hearts of many , and may even attract international sanctions. Given the potential of such a situation to cause anxiety, Dubawa opts to explore the veracity of this claim. 

    Verification

    Dubawa launched a probe of the video on InVid (video authenticity tool). The results traced the video to multiple reports from many news sites such as the globalandmail.com  with the headline ‘Video showing the death of a woman by men in military uniforms shocks Mozambique’  so also on straitstime.com “Mozambique army condemns ‘horrifying’ shooting of a naked woman at hands of fighters”

    Also, in a  recent BBC analytic report where the same video was analysed by BBC to uncover its source, the people involved, and the location revealed the event to have taken place in Mozambique. 

    Using the Google Earth technology, the location where the actual event took place in the video was traced to a small town called, Oasse in northern Mozambique, a region that is already under clash between the Al’shabab Jihadist group and the Mozambique armed forces. 

    Courtesy: BBC

    Though the woman is likely to be a refugee fleeing from the Oasse Village, David Matsinhe, a researcher with Amnesty International, confirmed that the armed men were wearing the Mozambique military uniforms, which is green and brown-lizard camouflage, black boots, tan web gear, and yellow-black shoulder tabs.

    Courtesy: BBC

    A typical Mozambique  military camouflage uniform with the same yellow-black shoulder tabs

    Furthermore, the men were heard in the video, telling the woman that she’s from Al Shabab with a typical southern Mozambique Portugese accent.  According to BBC, the Mozambique government has agreed to carry out an investigation over the matter, thus not disputing the fact that the event took place there in Mozambique.  

     Conclusion

    This video and the contents it portrays did not occur in Nigeria. Facts gathered confirmed the event to have taken place in Mozambique and the men are likely to be members of the Mozambique armed forces, not Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria. Thus, this claim is false.

  • Can the Body Language of a Subject Define Truth in Communication?

    The Military revealed that Boko Haram leader, Shekau says he’s ready to surrender- The Daily Times reports.

    As it is, this claim is no more than a rumour; it projects a case of a sensational headline in which the message in the caption differs from what the body of the text conveys. This is a classic definition of fake news. 

    Full Text 

    On April 21, under the banner headlines, “Boko Haram leader Shekau says he’s ready to surrender-Military,”   The Daily Times reported of Abubakar Shekau, leader of the notorious Islamic sect – Boko Hara’s – alleged willingness to surrender. The report credits Major General John Enenche of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), as the source of its story. 

    Boko Haram is responsible for many attacks in Nigeria, especially in the north.  Recently, on the 21st of April, the Defence Headquarters informed the public of an airstrike on the terrorist group at their base in Borno state. Lafiya Dole, the frontline operational theatre in the campaign against the insurgents, reportedly destroyed the compound housing the terrorists in Sambisa Forest, Borno.

    Before the operation, there has been news of surrender from some members of the sect. According to the military, ‘Abubakar has been making frantic efforts to seek a soft landing as he prepares to surrender.’  Nigerians have also been speaking loudly, advising the military on how to manage the presumed surrender. Fani Kayode, an opposition politician and one-time Minister of Aviation, is one of those who have so advised the federal government on what to do if he surrenders.

    Since the Daily Times published the report on the same day of the ambush; it lends basis to believe that it was the event that inspired the publication. The critical question, however, is whether Shekau made those comments about his readiness to surrender.  Let’s find out.

    Apparent Disconnect

    The first striking thing about the story is the organisational structure and the apparent disconnect. While the headline of the publication suggests a statement made by Shekau- ‘he is ready to surrender’, the body of the text made inferences riddled with speculations- ‘Shekau May soon surrender’. Therefore, Dubawa recognises a case of a misleading headline, one of the strategies employed by fake-news purveyors.

    The disconnect between headlines and body text is an essential strategy of purveyors of misinformation who struggle to cover their trails by omitting dates, regardless of the importance of periods to ascertain a story’s authenticity.  Case in point, this author mentioned a press briefing at Abuja, without giving the date of the conference.

    Convoluted Headlining Amid Zero Corroboration

    Further research revealed a similar report in the Daily Post which rests its claims also on speculation. In this instance, however, it elucidates the phrase, “may surrender soon”. The news platform claimed that the General made the statement upon reading the terrorist’s ‘body language’ and from any verbal statement he made. In other words, the report resorted to an assumption as a basis for authenticating a report. 

    Also, the total absence of resonance from any credible news platform adds further scepticism to this claim; especially when you consider that this was to be a major story. If it were factual, it would capture the imagination of Nigerians, the sub-region and the international community. The fight against Boko Haram which entered its second decade this year is considered one of the most important security challenges in Africa today.

  • None Reported Dead in PDP Imo Protest

    Facebook user claimed that protestors were killed during Imo state protest… 

    Words from the Imo State Police and the series of results provided by Google Reverse Image jointly disprove this claim. Pictures attached to the claim originate from Malawi and have nothing to do with the Imo protest.  

    Full Text

    Supreme’s court decision to replace Emeka Ihedioha with Hope Uzodima is probably not news anymore. It can be recalled that the former was the governor for over 10 months and the later held the fourth position in the Imo gubernatorial race.

    This change did not go without any objection. PDP and its loyalists march out in protest to contest the decision of the court. The protests were held in different states across the country.  Abia, Anambra, Imo, Abuja, Akwa Ibom

    A Facebook User, Kellynalson Obi had reported the protest in Imo state and according to him, it was brutal as ‘several protesters’ were killed. He posted some pictures which he captioned, “Breaking news SAD SUNDAY IN IMO STATE! SEVERAL ‘PROTESTERS’ WERE KILLED TODAY, OVER THE REMOVAL OF “GOV IHEDIOHA” THE MILITARY SHOOT THEM DEAD.” 

    The post, as at the time of this fact-check has garnered up to 478 shares. But how true are its contents? The veracity of this claim has been called to question as there are no news reports of any violence during the Imo state protest.

    Verification

    Dubawa put a call through to the Police PRO in Imo State, SP. Ikeoku Godson Orlando. He confirmed that there was no violence anywhere in Imo after acknowledging that the protest was a peaceful one. According to him, ‘there was a protest but it was absolutely peaceful.

    Hence, Dubawa resorted to performing google reverse search on the pictures attached to the claim.

    Kellynalson had published his claim with two pictures attached and Dubawa conducted a reverse search on them. 

    It happened in Malawi, not Nigeria, Imo…

    When we checked the first picture, Google brought back a number of results, one of which is this Twitter post from January 16th. The tweet talked about how the military provided security for anti-government protesters in Malawi.

    Another result, providing insight into the Malawi incident is this publication by Nyasa Times.

    Furthermore, we found another January 16th tweet on the same incident which had both pictures used by the claim’s author. Evidently, the demonstration captured in the photos is fairly recent; just not in Nigeria.

    The second picture used by Obi in his Post, after conducting a google reverse search also tells the same story as the first. Friends of Malawi Defence Force, a Facebook page posted the picture on the 17th of January, making reference to the Malawian protests; so also this Twitter user.

    CONCLUSION

    The results provided by Google Images and the testimony from the Imo police have proved this claim to be another case of disinformation. Hence, nullified the assertions of the Facebook User.  In the absence of any substantial materials to corroborate his claim dubawa considers it false. We don’t know the intention of this User but results from this fact-check suggest that the user only wanted to instil fear in the minds of the people.

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