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Old video shows Burkina Faso’s ex-minister Djibril Bassole collapsing, not Gabon’s former president Ali Bongo

IN SHORT: A popular video on TikTok claims to show Gabon’s former president Ali Bongo, whose health problems were well known, collapsing on a podium. But the video is from 2013 and the man collapsing is a former Burkina Faso minister.

A video posted on TikTok at the end of July 2023 shows a press conference, with two men standing behind podiums. 

The man on the left seems to lose his balance and collapses onto his podium, which falls forward. The other man quickly reaches out to support him, as do others in the audience. 

Text on the video reads: “President of Gabon Ali Bongo fell as he was giving his speech Ku summit.”

The video has also been shared here, here, here, and here, with all the posts receiving hundreds of thousands of views, likes and comments.

Gabon is a country in Central Africa, known for its dense rainforests, diverse wildlife and an oil-rich economy. Since independence in 1960, it has been led by three presidents. 

Omar Bongo ruled from 1967 until his death in 2009. His son, Ali Bongo, succeeded him. On 30 August 2023, following a disputed re-election, Bongo was overthrown in a military coup and placed under house arrest. Coup leader, Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, was then named “transitional president”.

Bongo’s health has been a matter of concern, especially after he suffered a stroke in 2018

In September 2023 he was released from house arrest, and the coup leaders said he was free to leave for treatment abroad.

Given Bongo's known health problems, this collapse in the video may not surprise many. But does the video really show Bongo and was it while he was president? We checked.


Not Bongo in the video

A reverse image search of a screenshot from the video revealed that the man who collapsed was Djibril Bassole, Burkina Faso’s former foreign affairs minister. The man next to him is Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey's former foreign minister. 

The incident took place in May 2013, when the two ministers were holding a joint press conference in Turkey during Bassole's visit to the country. He suddenly collapsed, was taken to a nearby hospital for assessment and briefly admitted for further tests.

The man in the video is not Gabon’s recently deposed president Ali Bongo and the video shows an event more than a decade old.

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