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Video shot in Ethiopia falsely used to project attack on Yoruba in Nigeria

Claim: A video, which has been widely circulated on social media, shows some men and women chanting and dancing while wielding guns. The caption of the video suggests that some Fulani women were equipped with guns and other ammunition to attack Yoruba people in different parts of Nigeria. 

The claim is misleading. DUBAWA discovered that the event depicted in the footage took place in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa, not in Nigeria as alleged. 

Full Text

On Sunday, June 5, some gunmen attacked worshippers at the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo town of Ondo State. While the police are yet to identify those behind the attack, the federal government has pinned the attack on the Islamist State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), although without evidence.

Five days after the attack, there were reports on social media that the attackers were arrested. The Ondo State Police Command, however, denied the arrest of the suspected terrorists.

But there have been debates in Nigeria on who was responsible, with some people claiming it was perpetrated by people of the Fulani ethnic group. 

Following the Owo church attack, a Facebook page posted a 30-seconds video with a caption written in Yoruba, suggesting that Fulani women were armed to attack the Yoruba.

A Screenshot of the acclaimed  video  depicting an alleged  empowerment of Nigerian Fulani women   with guns

The English version of the post reads: 

“Please take note, the Fulani are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people. We need to pray that we don’t have all these political jobbers again. We need to let political jobbers know that there won’t be an election in Yorubaland! Our safety is paramount at this point. #Freedom #Yorubanation.”

Going through comments on the post, it was observed that many people believe the Fulani were actually trying to attack Yoruba people as claimed in the post

One respondent, Oluwasegun Adegbule, questioned the authorities on why non-state actors are allowed to go about with guns.

 “Who owns those rifles, is it the police, the military, or any of these paramilitary personnel, and the president says any unauthorized person or persons carrying Ak47 rifles should be arrested, this is purely double standard law,” the Facebook user wrote. 

The recent Owo killings have left many Nigerians in fear, making people vulnerable to all sorts of manipulated information. This alleged video is a typical example of multiple users that commented on the video, showing signs of anxiety and tension, that give Dubawa a reason to verify the claim. 

Verification

DUBAWA conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of the video on the InVid Video verification tool.  Results from the analysis show that the earliest version of the video appeared online on 12th March 2022 in a Facebook post that describes itself  as “raising disciples, training indigenous missionaries involved in rehabilitation of destitute Children.” 

Screenshot of the earlier version of the video being circulated

This version of the post was captioned to have condemned the “gun display” by the women, describing it as foolish and barbaric. 

Part of the caption reads: “Why can’t these dancing women be educated for future building!!! The community leaders should be arrested immediately.”

Going through the 3:20-seconds video, DUBAWA discovered that the chanting and dancing appear to be a festival of a tribe outside Nigeria. 

Apparently, shreds of evidence gathered find the people in the footage to be of the  Afar ethnic people scattered across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The Afar people have clamoured for an independent nation called “Afarria” or the “Afar Triangle,”  for almost half a century. 

These people wielding rifles in the footage are evidently the “Afar People’s Force,” a guerrilla army that has been in the forefront of the struggle.

The woman holding the microphone is noticed to have the flag of the Afar nationality fixed to her scarf as she dances and sings. The Afar flag has a red triangle with three horizontal stripes of blue, white and green. 

The flag of the Afar, a combination of red triangle with three horizontal stripes of blue, white and green, is also seen attached on the scarf of the woman with the microphone
The lead singer, the woman with the microphone with the Afar flag attached to her scarf as she dances and sings. The screenshots are taken from different angles. 

In the same footage, officers of the Afar Regional National State Police are seen standing amidst the crowd. 

Officers of the Afar Regional National State Police standing amidst the crowd. As identified from the footage, The blue shirt, and yellow badge reaffirm the fact the footage was taken in the Afar regions of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa
A picture of a local Afar police officer, with the same blue shirt and yellow badge. Image sourced from Getty Images

DUBAWA also noticed that the “Afar People’s Force (APF)” is active on Facebook and has shared multiple videos of men and women of the tribe wielding rifles while dancing and singing. In one of such videos shared on Facebook in March 2021, titled: “APF: Afar People’s Force” officers are also seen in the scene. 

A similar but different video of the Afar People’s Force dancing and singing while wielding their rifles. The Afar Regional Police are seen present as in  the alleged video

Although DUBAWA could not trace other sources of the alleged footage, findings from the in-depth analysis suggest the event presented in the video took place in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa and not in Nigeria as claimed

Conclusion

The post claiming some Fulani women were armed with guns to attack Yoruba people in different parts of Nigeria is misleading as DUBAWA discovered the event took place in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa, not in Nigeria as alleged

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