Claim: A video showing several charred bodies is circulated with the claim that the Nigerian Military in Zamfara killed several bandits and terrorists during the ongoing military operation in the state.
The video that the Nigerian Military killed a lot of bandits or terrorists in Zamfara State is false as the video was shot in Tanzania, in 2019, when an oil tanker exploded in Moromoro, a city in Tanzania.
A 30 seconds video shared on WhatsApp depicts bandits/terrorists being “roasted” by the Nigerian Military during the ongoing military operation in Zamfara State. The video which shows numerous charred corpses and a huge burning fire also showed what appeared to be paid workers moving around.
The video also showed burnt out wreckages of motorcycles piled together while voices in the background were heard speaking in an unrecognizable language. Those sharing the video on WhatsApp did so with an accompanying caption which reads: “Bandits/terrorists roasted by the Nigerian military on 11/9/2021 in Zamfara.” The video, comes on the heels of the ongoing military onslaught to dislodge bandits/terrorists in Zamfara State and other parts of the North West.
The video is being shared on WhapsApp groups with the caption: “Bandita/terrorists roasted by the Nigerian military on 11/9/2021 in Zamfara.”
Ongoing Military operation in Zamfara State
Zamfara State, in north western Nigeria has in recent years become the epicenter of banditry with abductions and killings of residents becoming a regular occurrence. To stem the tide, the governors of the northwest and that of Niger State in the north central put up certain security measures to dislodge and flush out heavily armed men terrorising communities in the region. Zamfara State first came up with the measures by closing down weekly village markets, banning the sale of petrol in Jerry cans and also the use of motorcycles in certain parts of the state. The measures were quickly replicated in Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto states. On September 3, the Nigerian Communications Commissions directed all telecom providers to shut down services in Zamfara State. Prior to that, heavily-armed criminals in a daring attack stormed Government Day Secondary School, Kaya in Maradun LGA of the state where they abducted about 75 students who were released two weeks later in an undisclosed circumstance.
As of September 6th, Nigerian troops backed by gunships and fighter jets had begun a massive offensive against kidnapping gangs and terrorists in the state. However, the military recently suffered a heavy casualty when 12 personnel died after gunmen overran a Forward Operations Base in Mutumji, Dansadau, near Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State.The attackers were said to have seized weapons from the killed service members and set ablaze other equipment in the facility. Premium Times reports that a source at the Defence Headquarters said, “Our troops are consolidating on successes recorded so far. Information on ongoing operations will be premature at this stage.”
However sketchy information coming from Zamfara State opens room for speculations, especially among Nigerians eager to boast about the successes of the ongoing military operation in the state. Some media users, like the one under scrutiny, are sharing videos purportedly to boast that the Nigerian military is dealing a heavy blow to bandits/terrorists.
To verify the video, our reporter took screenshots of the video to capture relevant frames which were then subjected to reverse image searches. Using Google Reverse Image Search and Tineye, the frames did not yield any tangible results. However, when the frames were subjected to Yandex reverse image search, the video appeared which was posted by Baron Myunkhauzen on April 10 2021h with an accompanying article in a foreign language. Upon further scrutiny, it was observed that the scene looked like that of a tanker explosion which prompted a keyword search on tanker explosions in Africa.
A key word search revealed that the same video appeared first in 2019 when an oil tanker heading from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city to the country’s capital in Dadoma overturned in the town of Morogoro. Typical of several communities across Africa, Aljazeera reported that residents of the community besieged the area in an attempt to scoop fuel when the fuel tanker exploded and more than 60 lives were lost. Further searches revealed that images from the 2019 video were also published by other news outlets such as The Guardian and npr news.
The video of charred bodies being circulated on WhatsApp to depict the Nigerian Military onslaught on terrorists in Zamfara State is false, as the video was shot in 2019 after a tanker explosion in Tanzania, East Africa.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Daily Trust newspapers to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.