Warning: This article links to content with graphic and upsetting images.
An old but graphic photo showing dozens of charred dead bodies has resurfaced in an article headlined “Killing of Christians in Nigeria: I Have Lost My Peace” on the site Biafra Rise. The story has been shared a few times on Facebook.
The author claims he had seen no fewer than 50 corpses on the floor of the mortuary at “St Gerrard’s Hospital”. This is presumably St Gerard Catholic Hospital in Kaduna, the capital of Kaduna state in northwestern Nigeria.
He says more than half the dead were children under 10. Some had their throats slit, and some their “skulls smashed”.
The victims, he says, were “my southern Kaduna innocent people” and “Christians” killed by “Fulani herdsman/Muslims” – the “kinsmen” of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fuel tanker explosion in DRC in 2010
But back in 2014 Africa Check debunked a series of similar images, showing the same scene of countless badly burnt corpses lying in the open in front of an old building with a rusting corrugated iron roof.
This time it was claimed that the photos were of 375 Christians murdered by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. But they were false evidence of a massacre.
What the photos actually show are victims of a 2010 fuel tanker explosion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2010 that killed more than 200 people and injured 100.
The tanker had overturned and started leaking fuel when it exploded. According to the Telegraph, some were killed trying to steal the fuel, but most of the victims were indoors watching a 2010 World Cup football match.
Photos published across the world
The photos have also been used as evidence of “Rohingyas burned alive” in Myanmar.
It has been published on websites from Algeria to Vietnam, and there are “other confirmed examples of falsely using the image in Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, and Argentina”. – Africa Check (06/05/19)
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’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.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation
Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the alliance here.
© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.