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No, Nigerian embassy in Niger not burned down by angry protesters

IN SHORT: Some social media posts claim that a video shows the Nigerian embassy in Niger being burned down by angry protesters. But an ambassador has asked people to disregard this.

A video is circulating on Facebook with claims that the Nigerian embassy in the West African country of Niger has been burned down by angry protesters.

“Niger raised the Nigerian Embassy to ashes after burning down Frances embassy two weeks ago. Africans in the Sahel are finally destroying all forms of neocolonialism except Nigeria, Cameroon and few more still married to colonial masters,” reads the video’s caption.

In July 2023, Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum was detained by the military during a coup d’etat – a sudden seizure of power.

The military also dissolved Niger’s constitution, suspended all state institutions, closed the country’s borders and imposed a curfew. The head of Niger’s presidential guard, Abdourahamane Tchiani, declared himself the head of a new military government.

The coup has been condemned by world leaders, including members of the Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas. Nigeria’s president Bola Tinubu is the chair of the regional grouping. 

In response to the military takeover in Niger, Ecowas announced an ultimatum: hand power back to the democratically elected government or risk the use of force. 

But Nigerians, including the senate, have cautioned Tinubu and Ecowas against military intervention in Niger, which shares a border with Nigeria’s northern states.

An anti-Tinubu protest was also held in Niger on 4 August, asking the chair to back down.

In the 45-second video clip on Facebook, a crowd is seen setting fire to a building. A sign on the building reads “Bienvenue”, which is French for “welcome”. Files and papers are seen scattered on the floor.

We found the same video here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But does it show protesters burning down the Nigerian embassy in Niger?

EmbassyBurned_False

‘Videos are fake’ – Auwalu

If the claim was true, it would have been widely covered by reputable media organisations in the region. But Africa Check could find no reports that the Nigerian embassy in Niger was burned down and by angry protesters. 

A reverse image search of key frames from the video also did not return any results.

In a statement shared with local newspaper the Punch on 12 August, Nigeria’s ambassador to Niger, Liti Auwalu, debunked the claim.

Auwalu said some protesters did attempt to enter the embassy on 30 July, but that the situation was controlled by security officials and the embassy was well-guarded.

“We reiterate that the videos are fake and as such the general public is enjoined to disregard such videos,” Auwalu said.

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