A video showing several bikers riding across a vast untarred road, many of them wearing turbans and others putting on military camouflage, has been widely circulated in the Nigerian internet space, with many claiming they are members of a Fulani militia in the country.
Checks by HumAngle show this is not true.
The video was tweeted on Thursday by Biafra Defenders Forum Media House (@forum_biafran), as the account claimed the armed men were spotted in a military barracks in southern Nigeria.
“Over 300 Fulani herdsmen terrorist found in millitarey [sic] barracks in Southern Nigeria & government claiming they’re for millitarey training. and today Schools and others activities Shortdawn for fears of possible terro[r] attack as more of Fulanis with riffles arrived closer to Abuja,” the account user wrote.
Another Twitter user Abdul-Aziz Na’ibi Abubakar (@jrnaib2), in a now-deleted post (archived here), also suggested last Tuesday, May 4, that the video was filmed in Nigeria. “If Nigeria wasn’t a zoo, at this point the National Assembly would have impeach[ed] Buhari, but they’re loyal to Presidency,” he wrote in the caption.
The video has also been seen on WhatsApp with one user placing the location in Niger State, north-central Nigeria. “This is Kontagora in Niger State and they are Fulani terrorists spreading themselves to nearby states. Ehhhhh! Gid. Abuja is closer to Niger. Protect us, Lord,” he said.
Contrary to the claims, the video was not shot in southern or north-central Nigeria but in Burkina Faso, according to experts of armed conflicts and extremism in Africa.
Sharing a longer version of the video on May 3, Adam Sandor explained that it showed a “huge #JNIM presence in Loroum Region, village de Sollé within the last few days.”
“Local sources estimate fighters reach well above 1,000 in this part of #BurkinaFaso,” he added.
By JNIM, he was referring to the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, an extremist militant group and al-Qaeda affiliate that is actively present in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Tunisia.
Sandor is a Research Associate with the Centre FrancoPaix in Conflict Resolution of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair, at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada. His research focus is armed groups and conflict in Africa, specifically Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Mali, and Mozambique.
His description was confirmed on May 4 by Wassim Nasr, a journalist and specialist in jihadist movements. He additionally specified that the video was filmed in late April.
“#BurkinaFaso(1) convoy #JNIM #AQMI at #SolléMossi #Loroum at the border with the #Mali ~ April 26-28,” Nasr tweeted in French.
AQMI (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) was formed in 2007 and had merged with other terror groups 10 years later to become the JNIM.
Reports, in late April, that Boko Haram militants had occupied territory in Niger State and were spreading to other parts of Nigeria have triggered a fresh wave of misinformation, with videos from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and other parts of Africa being shared on the internet under misleading captions.
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