Media group debunks killings by Boko Haram

Media group debunks killings by Boko Haram

Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:40 pm

An organisation focused on fact-checking in Africa today  warned media organisations on the danger of exaggerating the harm done by insurgents in Nigeria’s northern region.

The concern follows the circulation of a   “faked photo of a Boko Haram massacre” of 375 people in a Nigerian  Christian community, circulating on twitter and Facebook platforms.

Peter Cunliffe-Jones director of Africa Check’ said the photograph has been found to be fake.

“We quickly discovered that the picture was all too horribly genuine. But while it does depict a real event, it is not evidence of a massacre or, for that matter, the massacre of 375 Christians. Rather it shows the aftermath of a fuel tanker explosion nearly 2000 kilometres from Nigeria in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Shekau: atrocities by group exaggerated in a photo

Shekau: atrocities by group exaggerated in a photo

“The tragedy, which occurred exactly four years ago today, killed at least 230 people and injured 190. The fuel tanker apparently overturned while trying to overtake a bus. By-standers were attempting to collect leaking fuel from the truck when the fuel ignited, possibly as the result of a lit cigarette. Many of the dead had gathered nearby to watch a World Cup soccer match.”

The fact-checking was done by  Kate Wilkinson and Julian Rademeyer. The duo were able to accomplish this using Google tools.

“So how do you tell fact from fiction? Fortunately a number of online tools exist to help you spot fakes and hoaxes online. By uploading the image to Google’s image search function and sifting through the results we managed to narrow the hunt down”, they reported.

“Africa Check is a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Follow on Twitter at @AfricaCheck or visit”

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