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Niger soldiers remind Nigeria they’re ‘not playing’? No, video of independence day parade in Senegal

IN SHORT: A video has gone viral with the claim it shows the soldiers of Niger. But it was first posted online four months before the July 2023 coup in Niger and shows a military parade celebrating independence day in Senegal.

A TikTok video of men in camouflage uniforms, chanting and parading, has been circulating on social media since early August 2023. It’s being posted with the claim they’re soldiers in the west African country of Niger and are reminding the president of Nigeria that they’re “not playing”.

The men perform for the camera. One runs a machete across his throat. Others brandish machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. The goal of the display appears to be to intimidate.

“Niger republic soldiers displaying their strength, to remind Tinubu that they are not playing,” reads a typical description.

Niger lies on Nigeria’s northern border. Nigeria’s president is Bona Tinubu. He also chairs the Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, a grouping of West African states that includes Niger.

In a late July 2023 coup, Niger’s military detained elected president Mohamed Bazoum, arrested ministers in his government, closed the country’s borders, shuttered state institutions and imposed a curfew. They have also imposed their own government.

Ecowas and Tinubu condemned the coup in separate statements released on 26 July. Both suggested force could be used to remove the coup leaders.

On 10 August Ecowas said it would establish a “standby force” ready to invade Niger and restore the county’s democracy.

But does the video really show soldiers in Niger “displaying their strength” to show Ecowas’s leader they are “not playing”?


Red, gold and green are not the colours of Niger’s flag

The first sign that the claim that these are soldiers from Niger is false are the many red, gold and green flags on street poles seen throughout the video. The colours of Niger’s flag are orange, white and green.

Africa Check took a screengrab of the first frame of the video and ran it through a Google reverse image search.

This returned several French-language TV news reports about a military parade in Senegal on 4 April, the country’s independence day. Senegal borders the Atlantic Ocean on the western-most edge of Africa. Its flag colours are red, gold and green.

The original video was uploaded on TikTok on 4 April by the user @loeildulion_. Its caption describes the uniformed men as Senegalese special force soldiers.

The video was shot on 4 April 2023 in Senegal, four months before the coup in Niger. It does not show soldiers from Niger.

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