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School bus burned down during July 2023 protests in Kenya’s Kiambu county? No, video taken in Turkana county

IN SHORT: A video posted on social media in Kenya shows a bus engulfed in flames. But it has nothing to do with the on-and-off protests. It's a school bus that accidentally caught fire in Turkana county.

A video of a burning bus has been posted on Facebook, with the claim that it was set alight by residents of Kiambu county in central Kenya for carrying machetes during a protest in July 2023.

The video shows a yellow bus in flames and people frantically pulling luggage from it.

“Kiambu, a School bus, full loaded with machete have been arrested by citizens on the lockout,” one post reads.

The video, with the same claim, has been posted here, here and here.

It was posted during nationwide protests on 19 July organised by Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga. His demands include that president William Ruto's government reduce taxes and the cost of living.

The police responded to the demonstrations with a crackdown, which also affected pupils

At least 30 people have been reported dead since the on-and-off protests began in March. The suggestion that a school bus was carrying machetes during the protests could inflame tensions among Kenyans.

But does the video show what is claimed? 

BusFire_False

Red flags

In the video, the school bus is marked “St James Kaikor Boys Secondary School”. The school is in Kaikor, in the Turkana county, more than 800 kilometres away from Kiambu county.

We searched for the keywords "St James Kaikor secondary school bus on fire" and found a Facebook post published on 18 July by “Ewala Tv Turkana”, a page that publishes news. 

The page reported that the school bus caught fire on its way back from the Kenya Music Festival competitions in Narok county, west of the capital Nairobi. 

The post's caption reads: "#BREAKING: St. James Kaikor Boys' Secondary school bus that was transporting back the pupils who went for Kenya Music Festival Competitions at Narok caught fire today at Kainuk, Turkana South. The fire was caused by hanging Kenya Power electrical lines at the Service Lane in Kainuk. No casualties were reported". 

The post included three photos of the same school bus on fire.

The video of a burning school bus was taken in Kainuk on 18 July. The claim that it happened in Kiambu on 19 July in connection with the opposition protests is false.

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