Bloodied man from Zambia, not Kenyan victim of xenophobic attacks in South Africa

During a wave of xenophobic violence against foreigners in South Africa in early September 2019, a photo of a man with blood on his face and neck was posted on a popular Kenyan Facebook group page

The post, dated 4 September, claims he is a Kenyan man injured in the violence.

It reads: “Xenophobia in SA: Njoroge Gathiru from Murang’a brutalised, wife raped, children murdered, mall looted. Police in SA claims the attacks are justifiable. Kenya’s foreign ministry has not issued a statement.”

The post was shared on another Facebook page.

Photo from Zambia in 2017

But a reverse image search reveals that the photo first appeared online in 2017. It is not linked to the violence in South Africa.

According to a 24 June 2017 article by online news service Zambian Watchdog, the photo shows a man injured in a clash between rival political parties in Zambia.

“[Patriotic Front] cadres attacked mourners and some [United Party for National Development] members at the Memorial park, during the funeral procession of late UPND member, Clance Zulu,” the article reads.

Zambian police later issued a statement on the fight, published in the article. It identified four men who had sustained head injuries.

‘Sensational news should be shunned’

In response to a flood of false information on social media about the xenophobic attacks, the Kenya High Commission in South Africa issued a statement on 4 September 2019, saying its attention had been drawn to “fake news” about the violence. 

The commission urged Kenyans to exercise caution before sharing information, and seek clarification when in doubt. 

“These kind of sensational news should be shunned as they only cause panic among Kenyans and the public at large and do not help the situation at hand,” the commission said.

Kenya’s foreign affairs cabinet secretary Monica Juma tweeted on 4 September that two Kenyans were “affected” by the violence. – Dancan Bwire


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