Back to Africa Check

Slain Biafrans? No, photo of kidnappers killed by Nigerian police in 2017

A photo posted on Facebook shows six nearly naked men lying on the ground, seemingly dead. A crowd of people stands around them.

“These are SLAIN BIAFRANS. Their crime? Peaceful protest of a referendum, Nigeria is worse than a shithole,” text above the photo reads.

The photo was posted on the Facebook page “Biafra News chanel” on 30 August 2020. The page describes itself as “where u get information regarding Biafra and the suffering of ndi Igbo”.

What is Biafra?

In 1967, just seven years after Nigeria gained independence from British colonialism, the southern region of Biafra, which has a large Igbo population, declared itself an independent state. Nigeria’s government rejected the secession. A brutal civil war followed.

More than 50 years on, Biafra’s sympathisers continue to call for its independence.

Special anti-robbery squad action in Cross River state

On 23 August, members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) clashed with state security operatives in Nigeria’s Enugu state, according to media reports and the organisation itself. There were casualties on both sides, with Ipob saying 21 of its members were killed.

But the photo is not of this incident, nor does it show “slain Biafrans”. It is at least three years old and the men were reportedly kidnappers killed by police.

A reverse image search reveals that the photo was published on several websites and blogs on 9 November 2017. “SARS Kill 6 Notorious Kidnappers In Cross River State,” one headline reads.

In November 2017, there were several news reports that suspected kidnappers had been killed by a police special anti-robbery squad during a gun battle in the Ikom local government area of Cross River state.

The men had reportedly abducted a woman. – Motunrayo Joel


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.