No, These Are Not Terrorists Trying To Cross Over To Nigeria

A video was recently uploaded on X alongside the claim that the bodies of slain young men belonged to terrorists trying to make their way to Nigeria. But this is false.

A video clip showing corpses of slain young men, abandoned motorcycles, and vehicles, including an armoured truck and a large cache of weapons, has been trending on social media, particularly X (previously Twitter), for the last couple of days, gathering mixed reactions among its users.

The post claimed that the corpses and vehicles were those of the terrorists trying to cross into Nigeria from Burkina Faso but were subdued by the Burkinabe soldiers.

“Burkina Faso soldiers killed scores of heavily armed Fulani bandits and terrorists crossing over to Nigeria,” the user with username @Nwaadaz posted on Tuesday, attaching a one-minute video. 

The clip has gathered over 4,000 retweets, 12,000 likes, and over 700,000 views as of the time of writing this fact-check. 

HumAngle found another user who shared the same video, claiming that the slain young men were armed “bandits and terrorists crossing over to Nigeria for jihad”.

It has also attracted nearly 4,000 likes and over 2,600 retweets. It was viewed over 820,000 times. With over 360 comments, most users appeared to be full of praise for the soldiers while casting aspersions on their Nigerian counterparts.

One user with username @Stephen18354570 said, “This is what our soldiers are supposed to be doing, but corruption everywhere.”

Another user commented that the terrorists were eager to cross over to Nigeria because “if they were able to cross over & peradventure, they’re caught in ops here, Nigerian Govt would pardon & integrate these non-nationals into communities they attacked. So, why won’t they rush to Nigeria for the lucrative biz of kidnapping & terrorism?”


To verify the claim, HumAngle analysed the video, subjecting the keyframes to a reverse image search. We found the clip in most French public broadcast services on YouTube. The earliest was first uploaded on May 22, 2022, by TV5 Monde, a television network based in France.

The video captured the aftermath of a daring attack on a military base by jihadists in Bourzanga, a town in the northern region of Burkina Faso.

“l’armée dit avoir déjoué une attaque de djihadistes contre un détachement militaire dans le nord du pays. Cinq soldats seraient morts et 30 terroristes auraient été tués,” the television channel captioned the video. When translated, it says, “The Army said it has foiled an attack by jihadists on a military detachment in the north of the country. Five soldiers are said to have died and 30 terrorists were killed.”

There are also media reports of the attack. According to Africanews, the terrorists stormed the base in large numbers in an attempt to overrun the post. A statement by the military headquarters said five soldiers were killed in the attack while 10 others suffered varying degrees of injuries. 

The statement added that about 30 of the terrorists were killed and scores injured while others fled, blending themselves with the local population in the face of superior firepower from ground troops who were assisted by the airforce.

The jihadists left behind weapons, communication gadgets, motorcycles, an armoured vehicle, and armed trucks. 

Burkina Faso has been a hotbed of violent extremism which spilled over from neighbouring Mali. Ten of the country’s 13 regions are currently ravaged by al-Qaeda and ISIS-linked terrorist groups.

In 2022, the landlocked country recorded 1,135 deaths attributed to terrorist groups, a 50 per cent increase compared to 2021, according to the Global Terrorism Index released in March.

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Abiodun Jamiu

Abiodun is an investigations reporter at HumAngle. His works focus on the intersection of public policy and development, conflict and humanitarian crisis, climate and environment. He was a 2022 Solution Journalism Fellow with Nigeria Health Watch under its Solution Journalism Africa initiative project.

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