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Video of people fleeing Burkina Faso, not Zamfara

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Claim: A Twitter user shared a video capturing a crowd allegedly fleeing from their homes in Zurmi Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara state. 

Video of people fleeing Burkina Faso, not Zamfara

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In recent days, a video depicting a significant exodus of people from a particular area has been widely circulated across various social media platforms. On May 16, 2024, a Twitter user identified as Erimus (@FirstObidient) shared a video capturing a crowd alleging that they fled from their homes in Zurmi Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara state. 

Accompanying the 29-second video was a caption expressing concern over the lack of response from the Governor and the Presidency in the wake of the crisis. The caption reads, “BREAKING: Families fleeing from their homes in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara state after terrorists raided their communities and kidnapped over 500 people. So far, there’s been no word from the Governor or the Presidency.”

At the time of reporting, the video had garnered significant attention, amassing over 75,000 views and eliciting 615 comments across various platforms.

Among the reactions, Stride Networks (@NetworksStride) questioned the authenticity of the situation depicted in the video. The X user wrote, “So these people are fleeing abi …so if you are running away from danger this is the way you would walk abi, keep on it …” while others, such as Viva XY (@VivaDido), criticised the government’s perceived failure to address the ongoing security challenges, “Failed government. Failed system.” Another user, AAW.(@vicayz) AAW. (raised doubts about the location of the incident, prompting further discussions among viewers. The X user wrote, “There is nothing in the video that suggests it is Nigeria.  Abi I dey miss something nee.”

Similarly, Serah Ibrahim (@TheSerahIbrahim)shared a 13-second version of the video, emphasising the magnitude of the abduction, with over 500 individuals reportedly taken captive. The accompanying caption reiterated the absence of official statements from local and federal authorities, underscoring the situation’s urgency. The caption reads, “BREAKING: Not 1, Not 2, Not 50 But 500. 500 people have been kidnapped in Zurmi LGA, Zamfara State. And not a single word from the Governor or the Presidency. Families around that region can be seen migrating to unknown destinations to run away from the attackers.”

At the time of filing this report, the extended video had amassed over 498,000 views and garnered significant engagement, highlighting the widespread concern and demand for action in response to the escalating crisis in Zamfara State.


DUBAWA searched the internet using keywords related to Zamfara and security, but there were no results.

Further, we deployed the InVID plugin, a video verification tool, and discovered that the video in question is old footage that has been trending since 2021 and the incident did not happen in Nigeria.

Investigation revealed that the video was initially filmed during an attack on the village of Solhan in Burkina Faso in 2021, where civilians were massacred and residents displaced by gunmen. It was found that the clip had been repeatedly used to spread misinformation across Africa, particularly in regions grappling with ethnic conflicts.

The video was initially published on Facebook on June 8, 2021, by SAIDA International e.V, a German charity organisation. The accompanying post, written in German, included the hashtag #solhan and translated to English as: “On the run in their own country: As if the people in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, did not have enough already.”

The Facebook post also coincides with an Al Jazeera report that more than 7,000 families had fled Solhan, a village in northern Burkina Faso, following a tragic massacre, marking one of the bloodiest incidents in a six-year jihadist insurgency in the region. Additionally, Burkinabe online media outlet Lobs Paalga uploaded a longer version of the footage on YouTube on the same day.

The video’s authenticity has previously been scrutinised by fact-checking entities including DUBAWA, AFP, and The Cable, dating back to 2021.


The viral video purportedly depicting people fleeing from Zamfara, Nigeria, is an old footage from Burkina Faso.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Crest 91.1FM, Ibadan, and News Verifier Africa, to enrich the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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