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FACT CHECK: No, this viral video does not depict army reprisal in Okuama

FACT CHECK: No, this viral video does not depict army reprisal in Okuama
March 26
12:55 2024

A social media post has claimed that officers of the Nigerian Army carried out a reprisal attack in Okuama community, Delta, following the death of 16 soldiers in the state.

A viral video has been touted as evidence of the alleged retaliation.

On March 14, some army personnel — comprising a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers — were killed by youths while on an assignment in Okuama.

The death of the soldiers sparked nationwide outrage — and a series of allegations. One such allegation was that soldiers retaliated by burning down the community.

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“Okuama in Delta state is being razed down as of this morning by rampaging Nigerian Soldiers. Nigerian Army have declared war in that region,” @EmekaGift100, an X user tweeted while sharing the video in question.

The X user said he is a human rights activist and an “image maker” for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the outlawed separatist group.

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The tweet, posted on March 18, has so far gathered over 97,200 views, 706 retweets, 581 likes, and 181 comments.

Screenshot of the video posted by @EmekaGift100

In the 54-second video, flames could be seen razing boats on a body of water while thick plumes of smoke drifted into the air.

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“Is this fair?” a male voice from the video asked repeatedly in Pidgin English amid explosions from the inferno.

“Look, so much fuel is burning. This is what we face every year but people don’t know, they think we are having a good time. We are not happy.”

According to @EmekaGift100, the fire was orchestrated by the army to burn “helpless children, women, old” alive.

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Somto Okonokwo, another X user, made a similar claim, adding that the military unfairly targets southerners while protecting Nigerians living in the north.

As at last count, the post has racked up 133, 600 views, 1,400 retweets, 1,200 likes, 256 comments, and 86 bookmarks.

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VERIFICATION

TheCable subjected screenshots of the video to a reverse image search and found that the same clip had been uploaded to TikTok in late January — nearly two months before the killing of army personnel in Delta.

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When it was first posted, the video was attributed to a fire outbreak at Nembe Waterside, a jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital.

“Another fire outbreak at Nembe waterside near creek road in Port Harcourt,” the video’s caption said.

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The video also has the same background commentary and surrounding features as those widely shared on Twitter after the killing of army personnel in Delta.

An extensive keyword search also brought up news reports that indicated the video was from a January 2024 fire incident which destroyed goods and property in Rivers state.

VERDICT

The video does not show the burning of the Okuama community in Delta state.

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