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Photo of ‘cornered’ passengers at  Kenya’s main airport not related to current strike

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 6 March 2019 after aviation workers went on strike.

The Kenya Aviation Workers Union’s grievances include plans for Kenya Airways to take over the management of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from the Kenya Airports Authority.

Riot police and strikers had running battles at the airport, and photos and videos from the scene went viral.

One Facebook user posted photos on a group page with close to 2 million members that claimed to be of armed security officers “surrounding passengers” of a Kenya Airways plane.

In the first photo passengers are seated on the tarmac, hands on their heads and surrounded by armed officers. The second shows a passenger coming down the stairs of a grounded Kenya Airways plane, hands above his head and surrounded by four uniformed men with guns.

“Kenya is unsafe,” the user says of his post.

Another user posted the first photo with the caption: “Uhuru Kenyatta has released a contingent of GSU officers to JKIA. They are currently beating innocent Kenyans.”


Photo of 2015 security drill


But a reverse image search reveals the second image is old and not related to the strike at JKIA. Instead, it shows a security drill by recce squad officers in May 2015. The drill was widely reported in local media.

Kenya Airways has tweeted that the photo doesn’t show the current conflict at the airport. It advises the public to instead check for updates on its official social media accounts.



“We are aware of false reports currently in circulation. These pertain to a security drill that happened in 2015. For credible information and updates, follow our official social media pages,” the airline tweeted. - Dancan Bwire (06/03/2019)

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