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Deadly Nigeria conflict? No, pic was taken in Central African Republic

This article is more than 6 years old

Since militant Fulani herdsmen killed at least 70 people in Nigeria’s Benue State on New Year’s Day, several images and videos have been shared reportedly showing the horrors of the continuing conflict.

On 17 March, a two-year-old news platform posted news of suspected Fulani herdsmen killing several people, including a pregnant woman, in a series of attacks in the northeast state of Taraba

However, the image 9News Nigeria used with the report quickly raised questions. It showed people attacking a group of fleeing men in front of what seemed like a warehouse. (Note: The site used the same picture again three days later to illustrate a story that residents of Kogi state were being targeted for extermination by Fulani herdsmen.)

Where is it from?

The first clue is the logo in the background. It's of the French telecommunications firm Orange, which isn’t licensed to operate in Nigeria.

Next, Africa Check conducted a reverse image search using TinEye to establish that the picture was taken by French photojournalist Pierre Terdjman. He documented the violence in 2013 and 2014 in the Central African Republic during former rebel leader Michel Djotodia’s short-lived stint in power.

The image was captioned by the French public radio service RFI as “Looting of a Muslim shop by Christians”.

But 9News Nigeria isn’t the only culprit when it comes to employing this picture as a catch-all illustration. A Google reverse image search shows that even reputable Nigerian news organisations have used the picture to illustrate various conflicts.

Using such a graphic picture as stock image for news reports could further inflame tensions and disrespects readers and photojournalists, as a former Africa Check editor explained. - David Ajikobi (19/03/2018)


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