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No, viral video doesn’t show Nigerian police running away from bandits, but a clash between pro-Palestinian protesters and security personnel.

IN SHORT: Some Facebook users claim that this video shows bandits chasing Nigerian police. But the video was first posted by a Nigerian Shi’a Muslim group, in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza.

A video has been posted on Facebook with the claim it shows bandits chasing Nigerian police officers in the northwestern state of Kaduna.

One 19 November 2023 post is captioned, in part: “Look at Bandits pursuing police in broad daylight. *This what happened in Kaduna yesterday just as in other parts of this country*”

The term bandits is used in Nigeria to describe armed criminal groups involved in illegal activities. 

The country continues to grapple with the presence of bandits, particularly in its northwestern region, where there are an estimated 30,000 bandits, according to the Institute for Security Studies. The groups range in size from 10 to over 1,000 fighters.

There have been several reports of the bandits’ activities, including kidnappings and attacks.

The video has been posted several times on Facebook, including here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But does the video show Nigerian police officers being chased by bandits? We checked.

NigerianPolice_False

Video is from a different event

Africa Check broke down the keyframes in the video using the video analysis tool Invid. We found the original video on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, posted by a group called the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on 16 November 2023.

The account posted two videos on 16 November, including the one circulating on Facebook, and said they showed IMN followers protesting in solidarity with the “oppressed people of #Gaza and #Palestine”.

News reports corroborate that IMN followers, protesting against the treatment of the people of Gaza, clashed with the police in Kaduna state.

On 7 October 2023, the Islamic militant group Hamas launched an attack into Israel from the Gaza Strip, leading to a fresh wave of the decades-old war between Israel and the Palestinian people.

The IMN are also known as Shi’ites, as they follow the Shi’a branch of Islam, the second-largest after the Sunni.

The IMN was founded by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, often described as the Shia leader in Nigeria, who has been accused of planning an Islamic revolution in Nigeria, similar to the one in Iran in the 1970s

(Note: The majority of Muslim Palestinians are Sunni, but Hamas is believed to be supported by Shi’a majority Iran, who also support the Lebanese Shi’a group Hezbollah.)

The group also posted on Facebook that two members, described as martyrs, had died at the hands of Nigerian police “during a procession in support of the Palestinian people”. 

The skirmish filmed in the video was between Nigerian police and pro-Palestinian protesters, not criminal “bandits”.

Misinformation about security personnel can contribute to the spread of panic and fear in an already vulnerable society.

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