Old images resurface online amidst Plateau killings

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AN X user @endwokeness published a post accompanied with three images and attributed them to the mass killings that took place in Plateau state on Christmas eve.

Quoting the Associated Press (AP) as his source, the user stated that the death toll had reached 140 and was increasing.

The post read:

“CHRISTMAS MASSACRE IN NIGERIA: The death toll is 140 and climbing after a series of coordinated attacks by Jihadist forces in Plateau. They attacked 20 Christian communities in Central Nigeria, raiding and burning homes while civilians were asleep. 300 are injured and 221 homes are destroyed. The authorities did not respond for over 12 hours, a source has told AP. In the past 2 decades, 62,000 Christians in Nigeria have been killed by Jihadists and another 5 million have been displaced.”

As of December 28, 2023 the post has garnered over three million views, more than 14,000 reposts, over 26,000 likes and more than 1,500 comments since it was published on Tuesday, December 26.

READ : Photos do not show gunmen attack in Plateau state

Media houses had reported on Monday, December 25, 2023 that gunmen had reportedly killed over 70 people in several communities in the Barkin-Ladi and Bokkos local government areas (LGAs) of Plateau state. Other reports like TheCable’s and AP’s quoted higher figures.

According to multiple media reports, the assailants attacked residents en masse, looted farm produce, and set houses ablaze.

 

CLAIM

Images show gunmen attacks on Plateau communities at Christmas eve.

 

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is MISLEADING!

A Google lens search conducted on the images showed that the photos were used out of context.

Using Google Image search, the displayed results revealed that the first image in the post showed the entrance of Imo state maximum correctional facility. The picture was from the attack on the facility by gunmen in April 2021.

Media houses had reported that gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Services and the Police Headquarters in Imo State, on Monday, April 5 2021 freeing an unspecified number of prison inmates after which the hoodlums set the facilities ablaze.

Meanwhile, the second and third images were old images from an attack that had also taken place in Kukawa village in Kanam local government area of Plateau state on April 12, 2022.

The FactCheckHub could not independently verify the source of the images, but they were used as featured images in news report by China Daily and Al Jazeera. Both news outlets attributed Agent France Presse (AFP) as the image source.

Further checks showed that the text which was posted alongside the images by the claimant quoting AP as its source had also been manipulated with extra texts added and some removed to create sensationalism.

The original article published by the Associated Press did not contain some words used in the post.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim that the images show gunmen attacks on Plateau communities at Christmas eve is MISLEADING; checks show that they were old images and used out of context.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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