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No, video does not show revenge attacks by the Nigerian army on the Okuama community in Delta state

IN SHORT: Some Nigerian soldiers were murdered in a community in southern Nigeria while on a peacekeeping mission. But a viral video does not show a retaliation attack on the community by the army.

The gruesome killing of 15 Nigerian soldiers in the community of Okuama in the country’s Delta state made local headlines in March 2024. 

The Nigerian army said the soldiers were on “a peaceful and mediatory mission” following clashes between the Okuama and Okoloba communities in the state. 

The South-South region, where Delta is located, produces most of Nigeria's oil.

There have been concerns among Nigerians about possible military reprisals against the village following the incident.

According to media reports, residents of the community have taken refuge in the neighbouring town of Ughelli. Police in the state have reportedly been unable to access the community due to an ongoing military operation. 

But a video is already going viral on Facebook in Nigeria, with the claim it shows a retaliatory attack by the army. The video has been shared on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In one of the posts, the video’s caption reads: “Okuama in Delta state is razed down as of this morning by Nigerian soldiers. Nigerian Army has declared war in that region.”

Does this video really show reprisals by the army? We checked.


Video online before the incident 

We took a screenshot of the video and ran it through Google’s reverse image search. The results showed that the video was online before the reported killing of soldiers in Delta.

On 29 January 2024, a version of the video was shared by a user – @shugaberries – on the short-form video platform TikTok. The user claimed that there was a fire outbreak at the Nembe waterfront near Creek Road in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. 

However, the version making the rounds on Facebook has been edited and is shorter than the one on TikTok.  

A male voice narrating the scene of the explosion in the video in the local Pidgin language said that it was due to the presence of fuel there and that fires occur regularly. 

A search on YouTube for “fire outbreak at Nembe waterside near Creek Road” brings up several incidents that support the speaker’s claims of regular fire outbreaks over the years.  

No credible local news organisation has reported a reprisal attack, which one would expect if the claim were true and given the coverage the issue has received.

The video is not of a retaliatory attack by the Nigerian military on communities in Delta.

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