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Fake news! Photos of hidden weapons old, not from France

“Ammunition from France concealed in a container loaded with food meant for IDPs in Borno!!” says a Facebook post published on 3 January 2020 and shared widely in Nigeria.

Several comments to the post criticise France for the act.

The post includes photos of of white sacks and weapons being offloaded from a truck, and men in uniform inspecting the goods.

Were weapons hidden among food meant for internally displaced people (IDPs), or refugees, in conflict-hit Borno state in northern Nigeria? We investigated.

Claim is old, false

A Google reverse image search shows that the photos were originally used in a press release issued on Facebook by the Nigeria Customs Service on 23 May 2017.

Customs officers had found over 400 rifles hidden among bags of cement, at Tin Can Island port near Lagos, in the south-west of the country. 

According to media reports at the time, the container seized by the customs service was loaded with plaster of Paris, not food, and originated in Turkey. 

There is no connection between the photos republished on Facebook and France, or food meant for displaced people in Borno state. Jennifer Ojugbeli


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