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Unrelated footage depicts killing, arrest of kidnappers

Claim: Kidnappers of Ekiti school children were reportedly gunned down by Amotekun.

Verdict: False. The circulating video is unrelated to the Ekiti abduction incident. It was recorded earlier in January after a confrontation between security operatives in Osun State and armed robbers, resulting in the death of three individuals.

Full Text

Kidnapping continues to surge in several parts of Nigeria despite the efforts of security agencies and repeated assurances from governments. Following the abduction of five pupils from the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in Emure, Ekiti State, on Jan 29, a video began to make the rounds on the internet with claims that Amotekun, a local security operative, has gunned down some of the kidnappers involved, and arrested the remaining. 

The video posted by Facebook user Olabode Medale showed three lifeless bodies on the ground, alongside men with gunshot wounds being carried into the rear of a Hilux vehicle.

The clip was captioned, “Ekiti school children kidnapper gun down and arrested by Yoruba local security outfit Amotekun, using a drone and other intelligence devices.”

Abass Ademola, another Facebook user, raised doubts about the video’s credibility. He mentioned that although he had previously shared a similar assertion, he later deleted it due to the absence of official police reports confirming such an occurrence.

He said, “Even the Ekiti State government and the Nigeria Police have never said anything about any arrest. So I’m surprised where you & others get yours. I already shared it before but deleted it because I saw it as fake news.”

In response, the claimant reassured Mr Ademola that the post he had shared was indeed accurate.

He reaffirmed that “it took the intervention of Nigeria Police, Amotekun, OPC and others to rescue the school children and it wasn’t a child play as some of the kidnappers were gunned down while some are arrested and injured.”

Apart from Mr Medale, others on Facebook have also circulated similar claims, as seen here and here. We discovered the same narrative on X as shown here, here, and here. DUBAWA conducted this verification due to the widespread dissemination of the claim.

Verification

We conducted a keyword search on Google, leading to reports about the release of the kidnapped pupils alongside three of their teachers. According to Vanguard, they were released at about 1:30 am on Feb 4, 2024, after the kidnappers were paid N15 million. Fried rice and energy drinks were also given as ransom.

We noticed two discrepancies at this point. First, multiple newspapers broke the news using the term “release” and not “rescue,” as suggested by Mr Medale’s post. In addition, the footage in question began to circulate on Feb 3, 2024, a day before the actual release of these pupils.

With these discoveries, we split the clip into keyframes using InVID and then conducted a reverse image search. Results linked this video to a Jan. 17, 2024, shootout between the police, Amotekun, and a group of armed robbers in Osogbo, Osun State. 

The robbers, who attacked the Integrated Steel PLC, a Dangote-owned company in Osogbo, were repelled by these security operatives, leading to the death of three and the arrest of five, as further confirmed by Eagle Eyes News, The Guardian, and The Sun.

Conclusion

The clip in circulation has no connection with the kidnapping incident in Ekiti. As evidenced, it was taken from an Osun State event and used to paint another narrative in Ekiti. The video was not only unrelated; the incident it portrays occurred before the pupils’ abduction on Jan 29, 2024. The claim is false.

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