Claim: Viral video shows Nigerian Embassy in Niger on fire.
Verdict: FALSE. Our findings reveal that the building in the video is that of Niger’s ruling party– the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also debunked the assertion.
The atmosphere has been tense since July 26, 2023, when the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, was detained by the Presidential Guard inside his palace in the capital Niamey.
Despite intervention efforts by ECOWAS, the Niger Junta has remained defiant and continues to hold on to power while keeping President Mohamed Bazoum in detention.
However, the ECOWAS Heads of State have vowed to use force to dislodge the junta in Niger if it continues on this course.
Amidst all these, in the early hours of Saturday, August 11, 2023, a 45-second video alleging that the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey, Niger was on fire started going viral and was shared with us for verification.
Seeing a claim on such a sensitive issue was going viral; we decided to investigate.
A close look at the video revealed a lion-face logo on the building and the word “Bienvenue,” which means welcome in French.
We tried using Google Translator to get the meaning of the comment made in a few seconds in the video but got nothing. We then conducted a reverse image search using different search engines to find the video or the building with the clues identified but found nothing related. We also checked for the metadata of the video but found none.
We then researched the image of the Nigerian embassy in Niamey. We compared the picture found with screenshots from the video but found no similarities in the building’s colour or structure.
Seeing the reverse image search and other searches were not yielding the desired result, we used the clues earlier identified to conduct several keyword searches to find the building, and this led to a fact-check published by AFP Fact Check and Reuters on August 9 and 4, 2023, respectively. These fact-checks revealed that the video had been used to depict an attack on the French Embassy when it was from an attack on Niger’s ruling party, Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism.
Our keyword search also led to the image of the attacked party’s building, showing the earlier identified clues. The building is located at 613 Avenue de l’OUA, BP 10894, Niamey.
We contacted the Spokesperson of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omoyuli, requesting a comment on the viral video but did not get a response.
Shortly after, a press release was shared on the official Twitter account for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria (@NigeriaMFA), debunking this viral claim.
Our findings reveal the building in the video is that of Niger’s ruling party, the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, not the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey, Niger. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also debunked the assertion in a press release.