No evidence that man set on fire for urinating near mosque in Abuja, Nigeria

Warning: This report links to disturbing photos.

A Nigerian news website published “breaking news” on 12 August 2019 that a man was mutilated and set on fire by a crowd in Abuja, the capital, for urinating in a gutter next to a mosque.

It says a “yet to identified Igbo young man” relieved himself after getting off a bus. He was “immediately rounded up by Muslim youths who attacked him, plucked his eye balls out before gathering tyres and set him ablaze in broad daylight”.

The article includes two photos, one of a bloodied man with his eyes seemingly removed and another of a heap of burning tyres covering what looks like a human body.

The story and photos have been shared several times on Facebook, and on other websites.

A similar claim, using the same photos, was shared on Facebook on 10 August 2017.

Photos more than two years olds

But reverse image searches on Google and Yandex reveal that both photos were first published on the internet more than two years ago.

The photo of the bloodied young man appears in a May 2017 blog post reporting that a “Kaduna State-based Nigerian Muslim man” had “threatened to kill any Biafran Christian that visits the state”.

The other photo is at least four years old. Africa Check traced it to a November 2014 report that a suspected suicide bomber had been attacked and burned alive by a mob in Gombe state in northeastern Nigeria.

There is no credible evidence of any such incident outside a mosque in Abuja in August 2019. – Allwell Okpi


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Africa Check has partnered with Facebook to combat fake news and false information on the social platform. This fact-check is part of the initiative.

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