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No, photos do not show weapons seized from Nigerian police by Biafran resistance fighters

IN SHORT: Contrary to claims by a faction leader of the Nigerian terrorist group Ipob, these photos do not show weapons recovered by Biafra fighters from the Nigerian police.

In February 2024, Simon Ekpa shared three photos of firearms on his X (formerly Twitter) account. He claimed they had been seized from the Nigerian police during a gun battle with Biafra fighters. 

Ekpa leads a faction within the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), a separatist group in eastern Nigeria that seeks to re-establish the Republic of Biafra. The secession of Biafra in 1967 triggered a civil war that lasted until 1970. The region was reintegrated into Nigeria when the war ended.

Despite being declared a terrorist group by the Nigerian government in 2017, Ipob has continued in its agitation for the restoration of Biafra. 

We found the same claim on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

One of the posts reads: “BREAKING The Biafra Resistance Fighters have neutralised many terrorist @PoliceNG who came to kill Biafrans as usual, send them to God and recovered many weapons including explosives.”

But do the photos show firearms seized from Nigerian police by Biafra fighters? We checked.


Photos all older than February 2024 

A Google reverse image search of the first photo showed that it had been used in a December 2022 article by Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper. The article said the weapons had been recovered from Boko Haram terrorists by military troops.

We found the second photo in a 2017 publication by the Premium Times newspaper with the headline: "Nigerian soldiers kill 14 terrorists, rescue 30 hostages - Army". The guns in the photo were recovered during the operation.

A search for the third photo led us to a 2018 blog post, in which the blogger wrote that he had recently purchased the guns in the photo. “They are classic 1970s/80s-era Remington 870 Wingmaster 12 gauge Police models complete with a really groovy Ohio National Guard ‘ONG’ stamp and state overlay,” the writer said. 

All three photos of the firearms were online before February 2024. They were linked to events that had nothing to do with Biafra fighters or the Ipob movement. 

Africa Check was also unable to find any credible reports of a gun battle between the Nigerian military and Biafra fighters in February.

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