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Video shows arrest of illegal miners in Taraba state in 2023, not mass arrest of bandits in Niger state in 2024

IN SHORT: Several Nigerian Facebook users have claimed a video of the Nigerian military arresting people shows an event in Niger state in 2024. However, the video was shot in Taraba state and has been online since August of last year.

“The forest near Kotangora in Niger State is said to have been combed yesterday by our troops: imagine the number of bandits brought out from the forest!” reads the caption to a video posted on Facebook.

The 11 March 2024 post claims the Nigerian armed forces rounded up bandits in Kontagora, Niger state, in the north-central area of the country.

The video has been viewed over 2,000 times.

Insecurity is an ongoing problem in Nigeria, with terrorism, insurgency, communal clashes, kidnapping and banditry all contributing to unrest in some parts of the country.

The Nigerian armed forces are making efforts to tackle insecurity and claims of the military rounding up bandits have been seen before on social media.

The same video has been posted here, here, here and here on Facebook. On Instagram, the video shared with the same claim has been viewed over 60,000 times.

But is the video and claim recent or true? We checked.


Video shows illegal miners arrested in 2023

The video shows the TikTok logo and the handle This led us to the original video posted on TikTok on 23 August 2023, where it has also been widely viewed and reposted. The version on TikTok is, however, uncaptioned. 

The video shows a large number of people sitting on their haunches in a dense forest. The arrest of such a large group of bandits would make it to the national news, but we found no such reports.

Using reverse image search, we found a very similar video showing the same scene published on a YouTube page, Voice TV Nigeria, on 27 August.

The caption here reads: “Breaking Nigeria Army Rescue Thousands Of Kidnapped Victims From Kidnapers Dean In Taraba State.”

We also found the same video posted on Facebook on 30 August, claiming to show “bandits brought out from the forest”.

Another Facebook post said the people in the video were miners and were arrested for illegal mining in Taraba. This was also claimed in a post viewed over 250,000 times.

So the video has been posted on social media at different times since 2023, with contradicting captions. This meant we had to look for more trustworthy sources to verify which context was the most accurate.

We next found a very similar video showing the same scene on the YouTube page of popular broadcast organisation TVC News Nigeria from 19 August, here titled Taraba Task Force Arrests 3,500 Suspected Illegal Miners. TVC News Nigeria appeared to have visited the mining site.

Several other media organisations also reported the arrest of the 3,500 illegal miners. 

Fact-checking claims of the mass arrests of bandits is important as it shows the action and inaction of the Nigerian government. This video does not show bandits arrested by the Nigerian military, but a group of illegal miners.

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