Video claiming reprisal attack on Delta Community, false

By: Babatunde Okunlola

Image source: ICIR Nigeria

Claim: An X user posted a video claiming it is from a community in Delta State that soldiers set ablaze.

Verdict: False! Our findings show the video is from a fire outbreak in Nembe Jetty in Port Harcourt, River State.

Full Text

On March 14, 2024, 16 Nigerian soldiers were killed on a peacekeeping mission to halt clashes between two communities in the southern state of Delta, an army spokesperson said. The troops from the 181 Amphibious Battalion deployed in the Bomadi region were responding to the conflict in the Okuoma community of Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State when they were killed on Thursday. The Defense Headquarters said the personnel consisted of the commanding officer, two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers. The killings have been condemned by many stakeholders, with President Bola Tinubu vowing that the perpetrators will not go unpunished.

Meanwhile, there have been fears of reprisal attacks after reports of some burning buildings in the community. However, it was not clear who razed the buildings and those who had sighted the Odi and Zaki Biyam situation when the town was raised to the ground in a reprisal attack.

An X user, General_Somto, posted a video of another Delta community being raised down as a result of the aftermath of the Okuoma community killings, writing that it was a reprisal attack.

The caption reads:

“Nigerian Soldiers Still On Revenge Mission: Another Community Set Ablaze By Nigeria Army In Delta State. Meanwhile, In The North, Boko Haram Terrorists Are Granted Amnesty, Fulani Herdsmen Are Protected By The Government, Bandits Are Getting Paid And Rehabilitated. These Are Criminals And Terrorists Responsible For The Deaths Of Thousands Of Nigerians, Including Nigeria Soldiers And Police Officers. Only In the South East (SS and SE), Nigeria Military Goes on Revenge Missions. Why Not Go After The Perpetrators And Leave Innocent Civilians Out Of It. Why Burning Down the Whole Community?”

As of Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the video had generated over 132,000 views, over 1,280 likes, and over 1,300 reposts on the X platform. The comment section was filled with comments from followers demanding accountability, disappointment, and calls to stop, as well as those who doubted the video’s authenticity of the video.

Having observed the engagement generated by the post, especially considering its sensitive nature, uploads by other social media platform users, and confusion about the video being from Okuoma or a neighbouring community, DUBAWA decided to fact-check it to set the record straight. 


Using screen grabs of the video, a search on Google Lens brings up several videos with an upload by @tarieebie on the TikTok platform dating to Feb 4, 2024, with the caption “Another fire outbreak…..”

An older post, using “exact matches” can also be found from January 29, 2024, uploaded on the TikTok platform by an account @shugaberries (formerly @vera), as a caption that reads, 

“Another fire outbreak at Nembe waterside near Creek Road in Port Harcourt. The video also has comments dating back to the same period, i.e. January 2024. The time of the upload also tallies with a major reported event of a fire in the Nembe water jetty fire outbreak, which killed ten persons and was reported in the Nigerian media in January 2024 around that time. This is different from what is being portrayed by the X user.

Also, listen to the audio clip, which has a male voice narrating the scene over the explosion sounds in pidgin. 

He says: “This kain tin good? See am o. Enough fuel o. Enough fuel dey there dey catch o. see am. Make una look. Na wetin we dey face every year be this, but people no know. They think say we dey enjoy. We no dey happy o. Anybody wey dey do this tin make him dey try o.”

A translation of the above is, “Is this good? Look at it. There’s a lot of fuel. There’s enough fuel causing the fire. Look at it: we face this every year, but people don’t know. They think that we are enjoying ourselves. We are not happy. Anyone who is involved in this act should do better.”

The statement above clearly paints a different context from what the X user depicts. The last line depicts that the explosion’s cause (person involved) remains unknown. The speaker also states that this is faced “every year,” referencing a regular occurrence. A quick search of “fire outbreak at Nembe waterside near Creek Road” on the YouTube platform brings up several incidents that back the statement uttered by the speaker in the video of a regular gas occurrence over the years. 

There are also no signs of soldiers in the video clip to corroborate any speculation of an attack. The hashtags also used in the original clip do not depict a reprisal attack. Hashtags in the video traced to the TikTok user @shugaberries  from January 29, 2024, include the following: #fire #stores #today #Outbreak #disasters #virallll #outbursts #goods. The above does not depict any form of attack by soldiers. There is also a report of a gas explosion, which further corroborates the date the TikTok video was posted, further showing that this resulted from a gas explosion in the Nembe community in Port Harcourt. 


Our findings show that the video is an old one uploaded by a TikTok user in January, so the claim is false. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Diamond 88.5 FM Nigeria, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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