Claim: Video showing people crossing the Ngueli bridge in Chad into Cameroon.
The bridge in the video is not the Ngueli bridge but a bridge in N’Djamena.
The video, mostly without sound, shows a large number of people moving across a bridge which runs over a water body.
The video in itself did not indicate the location of the bridge or give any information on the ongoing situation. Accompanying the video, however, is a text that states:
“Right now, hundreds of thousands of Chadian refugees are crossing over the Ngueli bridge to the Republic of Cameroon, less than 40kms to the Nigerian border.”
“Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Chadian refugees were crossing over the Ngueli bridge to the Republic of Cameroon, less than 40kms to the Nigerian border. They may eventually cross to Nigeria unless their country stabilises becos Cameroun are hostile. Govt should take action!”
The accompanying messages suggest that many Chadians fear a deterioration of the political situation in the country following the death of Former President Idriss Deby at the front line.
Following his death, Mr Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, was appointed to lead the country for 18 months until elections, a move the opposition party and many Chadians opposed.
However, the rebels, whom President Deby fought for many years, vowed to reclaim the capital, N’Djaména, an announcement instilling fears in citizens. For fear of violence, many residents of the capital were seen fleeing on Tuesday.
This development prompted fears of possible refugee situations in neighbouring countries, especially Nigeria and Cameroon. One of such videos claiming Chadians are crossing a border bridge into Cameroon went viral with many commenters calling on both Nigerian and Cameroonian governments to take action against such migration.
Dubawa set out to locate the bridge in the video to ascertain if indeed the location is truly the Ngueli bridge.
To begin with, Dubawa noticed that no major news platform had carried any such news, raising a red flag. Dubawa tracked the conversations around the video and came across an Instagram user, @chikacharles, who stated that he lives in Chad and added that indeed the event seen in the video took place on the Ngueli bridge.
Basic google search revealed that the Ngueli Bridge connects Ndjamena, the capital of Chad, to Kousseri, a town in the far north of Cameroon. Using Google search of the Ngueli bridge, we came across the following images.
Gettyimages also had a collection of images from the Ngueli bridge which suggest that the Reuters image above is accurate.
From observation, it is clear that the bridge in the video and that in the pictures do not look the same. A feature that stands out is the support beams for the bridge.
The support beams in the video show a single beam instead of the double beam bridge from the Ngueli bridge image. Furthermore, a google map image of the Ngueli bridge shows a double, side-by-side structure as opposed to the single structure in the video, suggesting that the bridges are not the name.
Which bridge is it then?
Dubawa then sought to find out which bridge was in the video.
Firstly, we searched for bridges over the Chari river and looked through the related images. We identified the Ngueli bridge and another bridge which had a similar structure to the one in the video.
Further search was conducted on the image above and we discovered that the bridge bears many similarities to the bridge seen in the video. By comparing shots from the video and the images generated in Google maps, we were able to pinpoint this bridge to be on the Djamena-Moundou road in N’Djamena.
We did this using the wall, sand site/construction site, the circled trees and the roofed structures as seen in the screenshots from the images below.
By Using Google Maps and Google Maps Pro, we identified the images from the screenshots of the video as seen below.
The Ngueli bridge goes over the Logone river while the bridge in the video goes over the Chari river. This would imply that the people going over the bridge would not be in Cameroon once they get across the bridge but will still be in Chad.
The video showing people’s movement did not take place on the Ngueli bridge as suggested by the texts accompanying the video but rather a bridge on the Djamena-Moundou road in N’Djamena. This bridge is different from the Ngueli bridge that connects N’Djamena, Chad’s capital, to Kousseri in Cameroon.