Back to Africa Check

Yes, photo shows child soldiers in Nigeria’s Biafran war

A black and white photo posted on Facebook shows a young man, little more than a child, looking into the camera as he carries on his back another boy, badly injured.

The photo is in a screenshot of what seems to be a post from the Twitter account @NigerianMuseum.

The text reads: “A child-soldier assists his wounded colleague during the Biafran war (1968).”

The @NigerianMuseum account is currently suspended for violating “the Twitter Rules”. And the screenshot has been flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

But does the photo show child soldiers in the Biafran war, snapped in 1968?


Biafran war, Nigerian civil war

In 1967, just seven years after Nigeria won independence from British colonialism, the region of Biafra declared itself an independent state. Nigeria’s government rejected the secession. A brutal war followed.

According to Britannica, “estimates of mortality during the war generally range from 500,000 to 3,000,000”.

Biafra surrendered in 1970, 50 years ago.

Photo by British war photographer

Using a reverse image search, we found the photo in the collection of Contact Press Images, a stock photo company that specialises in images of war.

The caption reads: “Ibo soldier carrying wounded comrade, civil war, Biafra, Nigeria, April 1968.”

The photo is credited to Don McCullin.

McCullin is a British war photographer who has covered conflicts across the globe. In 1968 he went to Biafra to record the war. His best known photo from the war, of an albino child, was named one of Time magazine’s most influential photos.

Yes, the photo does show child soldiers in the Biafran war, in 1968. – Mary Alexander



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.