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Factcheck: Igbo Passengers Attacked In Jos? No, Pictures From Zimbabwe, Southern Nigeria

The police command in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria, has also debunked the misleading claim.

About four pictures went viral on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29, with the claim that they depicted an attack in Jos, North-central Nigeria, involving between 230 and 250 Igbo passengers. But the images are not recent and were shot in unrelated circumstances.

“Jos crisis: Fulani men intersected on two luxurious bus[es] conveying Igbos home and set it on fire killing 230 Igbos,” one broadcast on WhatsApp stated.

“Every Igbo man in Jos right now should avoid Jos express road and stay indoors. If possible run to a church or Army barrack. There is an ongoing meeting in Enugu right now by Ohanaeze on how to convey you people back home as soon as possible.”

The same claim has been shared widely on the microblogging platform, Twitter, as well as Facebook and YouTube.

“#Fulanis In Nigeria set two Buses carrying Igbos from Jos to their home town Ablaze. Killing Total of 250 Igbos as confirmed. This is an act of war,” one account, IPOB Abia State (@Abiastatetweet1), tweeted on Sunday.

Two of the pictures in circulation show different luxury buses that have caught fire, one white, the second red. A third picture shows a crowd of youths, some of them holding sticks, as a huge flame billowed behind a fence.

A reverse image search conducted by HumAngle placed the picture of the white bus in a crash incident that took place in Zimbabwe in April 2017. The bus was heading for South Africa and had collided with a truck. The accident claimed the lives of 20 passengers.

The picture of the second bus was shot in Umuahia according to a March 2019 report when a commercial bus belonging to the transport company, Young Shall Grow, caught fire. The report contains other pictures of the incident showing the same bus later terribly burnt.

The third picture showing the crowd was similarly traced to a 2015 publication using the TinEye reverse image search tool.

Meanwhile, the police command in Plateau condemned the claim as fake on Sunday.

“The command hereby states categorically that there is no record of such incident anywhere in Jos,” said police spokesperson ASP Ubah Ogaba.

“We urge members of the public to disregard and stop the spread of such as fake news capable of inspiring unwarranted panic, hatred, negativity, chaos and tribal conflict among the well-spirited residents of Plateau and Nigeria in general,” he added.

“We enjoin all citizens to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies by providing prompt and useful information that will help to enhance the security of the state rather than spreading unverified information capable of heating up the polity.”

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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