Unmasked Kenyan police arresting man for not wearing mask? Photo from Nigeria, in 2017

A photo on a popular Kenyan Facebook page shows three men in uniform appearing to arrest a man. 

Its caption reads: “A facemask seller was arrested for not wearing mask by policemen who were not wearing masks.” It was posted on 20 May 2020.

In Kenya, wearing masks in public is mandatory, as part of attempts to curb the spread of Covid-19. The police have said people not wearing masks can be charged. The order was enforced 6 April 2020, when a legal notice by the ministry of health was published.

But does this photo show Kenyan police arresting a man for his failure to comply with these recent regulations? We checked.

Photo at least three years old

A reverse image search reveals the photo was taken long before Covid-19 was first reported in China in December 2019. 

It was first posted on website Sahara Reporters on 25 January 2017 and captioned: “Shiites in confrontation with Nigeria police during Free ZakyZaky protest.” The photo is part of a series titled “Police vs Shia Protesters in Abuja”.

The photo was also posted on Twitter by Sahara Reporters, and the protest was covered by other Nigerian media outlets. 

Using a magnifying tool on the uniforms of the police officers reveals the words “Nigeria Police” on their badges, at the shoulder. 

Wearing face masks in Kenya has only been enforced since April 2020, and this photo shows protesters in Nigeria over three years earlier. – Dancan Bwire


 

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.

Publishers guide

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.