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Video of soldiers assaulting civilians in Abia not recent

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Claim: An X user posted a video of soldiers assaulting a civilian in Abia State, where soldiers were recently killed by unidentified gunmen.

Video of soldiers assaulting civilians in Abia not recent

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On May 30, 2024, about five soldiers were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked soldiers in Aba, the commercial epicentre of Abia State, in Nigeria’s southeast region.

Meanwhile, the fear of reprisal from the military has since engulfed the state, with the Defence Headquarters vowing to retaliate against the attack of its slain troops. 

An X user, @Chiditweets042, posted a video purportedly showing angry soldiers beating up a young man in Abia State. 

The footage’s caption reads: “What is going on in Abia State? Will the Nigerian Army try this up North?”

In the 22-second video clip, about three soldiers were seen commanding a young man to “shut his eyeballs,” calling him a “bastard” as one of them slapped him. 

As of Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the post has garnered over 530,000 views, more than 2,000 likes, over 2,000 reposts and more than 1,000 comments. 

Reacting to the post, an X user, @Musa_Kiliya, said, “He deserves more than this!” 

A commenter, @Idaralite, wrote, “These soldiers must be identified and prosecuted. They are criminals.”

Another user expressed displeasure with the video, seemingly suggesting he believed the post. 

“These are norther[n] soldiers doing this to Igbo boys. Will they do this to anyone up north??” @Breakyon3ck queried rhetorically. 

DUBAWA’s investigation found that the same video with a similar context had been posted on other social media platforms. See here and here.

The engagement generated by the post and its sensitive nature led DUBAWA to conduct this verification. 

Verification 

DUBAWA looked for sources of the video clip and came across a few on Facebook, as seen here and here. The only similar context we drew from both accounts is that the incident most likely became popular as far back as 2019. 

In one of the accounts, uploaded by Oghidi Kingsley Osh, he shared details of how the Nigerian army refuted claims that the assailants in the video, who were assaulting a man, were not part of the military. The assailants, who were visibly dressed in army uniform while maltreating an unnamed man, were renounced by the Nigerian military. 

To get more context around the incident, we also found a news report from the Punch quoting the Nigerian Army saying that men captured in the footage are not connected to the army while debunking the clip as “most likely fake.” The report was made in 2019.

According to the outlet, Sagir Musa, the acting director of Army Public Relations, explained that the camouflage style worn by the soldiers in the video was no longer in use, adding that the men could be impostors.

However, the news outlet did not report anything about the incident, which suggests it happened in Abia State. Moreover, reliable media sources did not report such an incident linked to Abia State. 

Attempts to get Chinaka Maureen, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO for Abia State Command, to comment on the matter have been futile.

Conclusion 

It is not true that a group of soldiers committed a fresh assault on a young man in Abia State. The footage clip circulated online dates back to 2019.

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