Photos do not show gunmen attack in Plateau state

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A photo collage showing the interior of a church and a floor stained with blood has circulated online with a claim that it shows the recent attack by gunmen in Plateau state.

The collage is circulating following the gunmen attack which led to the killing of over a hundred of residents in the Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi local government areas of Plateau state on Christmas eve.

READ : How foreign-linked accounts amplify disinformation about gunmen attack in Nigeria’s Plateau state

A verified X user, @roneng1ish, posted the photo collage with a caption that read: 

Nigeria – New photos from within a church where at Christmas Christians were massacred in the name of Allah. Around 150 are confirmed dead so far, properties & farms were looted and burned. This is on par with what Hamas did, but the MSM & dancing Western Hamas fans ignore.” 

The post has generated over 1.9 million views, more than 17,000 reposts, 1,200 comments and more than 32,000 likes as of December 31, 2023. 

Another verified X user, @hananyanaftali, also posted the same photo collage with a caption thus: 

Nigeria Christmas Massacre Targeting Christians: Over 150 fatalities. Approximately 200 families forced to relocate. Around 300 people injured. Where is the international community?(sic)” 

The post has also gone viral with over 1.5 million views, more than 2,700 comments, over 26,000 likes and 15,000 reposts as of December 31, 2023. 

 

CLAIM 

Photos show church premises where at Christians were murdered in Plateau state at Christmas.

 

THE FINDINGS

Checks show that the claim is  MISLEADING.

Screenshot of the viral images on X. INSERT: Misleading verdict.

When this researcher subjected the images in the collage to Google Reverse Image search, the results show that the photos have been online since 2022.

The photos show the inside view of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State which was attacked by bandits in June 2022. An earlier version of the pictures were found in these reports by Al Jazeera and AP News.

The photos were credited to the Associated Press photographer, Rahaman A Yusuf and were shot on June 5, 2022, inside the church after the gunmen attacked worshippers who gathered for weekly service.

In other words, the images are unconnected to the recent killings in Plateau state. 

THE VERDICT

The claim that the photos show church premises where at Christians were murdered in Plateau state at Christmas is MISLEADING; findings show that the images have been online since 2022 and are unconnected to the recent Plateau killings.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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