CLAIM: Two Persons Parachuted Out of the Plane Crash that Killed COAS, Lt. Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim and 10 Other Officers

Olakunle Mohammed

 

On the evening of May 21, 2021, news reports confirmed that a military jet had crashed close to the Kaduna International Airport, after few hours, it was confirmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Brig. General Ibrahim Attahiru and ten other officers including the flight crew died in the crash.

However, while the burial of the COAS and other dead officers were fixed for 22nd May, 2021, a videoclip began to circulate online with claims that two persons parachuted out of the plane before it crashed.

The video in circulation showed a man being interviewed saying that, “As the plane was about to crash, two people emerged from it and were holding onto parachute vest strapped to their bodies, when the plane crashed, the survivors landed on the other end of the Bush area and disappeared.”

This video had been shared multiple times on Twitter and Facebook.

POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CLAIM

The claim was made at the time when the country was in mourning of a top military commander and ten other officers with conspiracy theories that the death was not of natural causes as reported by the Army which stated that the aircraft crashed due to bad weather conditions.

Also, the military jet that crashed was a King Air 350 aircraft in which Nigeria possessed four of it— NAF201, NAF202, NAF203, and NAF 204. In February 2021, NAF201 crashed in Abuja on its way to a rescue operation of kidnapped victims in Minna and all seven crew members died in the crash. On Friday, May 21, NAF203 which was conveying the COAS and ten others crashed too, but the claims made in video has made this recent crash look suspicious.

Online conspiracy theories have also given life to the rumour that the plane crash was a state-sponsored assassination, after the video surfaced online, making it imperative to fact-check its authenticity.

VERIFICATION

The video made it into public domain on May 22, around noon time, a search for the keywords ‘COAS Parachute’ showed several results with the video being posted and reposted by Facebook users and groups.

An advanced search using TweetDeck showed that the video was first posted Twitter around 2.11pm on May 22nd by Messrs Yekinni Bamidele Tajudeen (@tajyekinni) and Marphy (official_marphy). It was also posted by Deji, Abdul Oke and Chidume Nwabuwa between May 22nd and 23rd at different times.

 

 

Is the video real?

The fact-checker used the inVid WeVerify tool to perform reverse image search on several platforms, using screenshots obtained from the video but the search result showed images not similar to the event portrayed in the viral video.

However, the fact-checker noticed the logo on the left hand side of the video frame, cropped it out, edited it to make it more legible and used inVid WeVerify to do a reverse image search on Google, it returned image results unrelated to the logo in the cropped picture.

The fact-checker also used Yandex for the reverse image search and results showed several unrelated logos but the fact-checker noticed a similar logo that stood out, because it had the word, ‘TV’ which had already been noted down after cleaning up the cropped logo.

The image discovered in the Yandex reverse image search read ‘VOICE TV,’ the fact-checker did a Google search of the name, returning search results with videos at the top. The fact-checker clicked on Google video tab and discovered a ‘Voice Tv Nigeria’ among the displayed results.

The fact-checker went to YouTube and input the keywords ‘voice tv nigeria crash’ in the search tab which brought back several results including a recent report by the news platform on the recent plane crash in Kaduna involving the COAS. The video results were played one one by one — the one for the recent crash (1:18 mins), the February 2021 crash (0:59 mins), another crash of a Nigeria Air Force crash from September 2018 (6:26 mins).

While the 2018 crash was playing, the fact-checker noted that at 4 minutes 34 seconds in, it looped to the video of a man narrating how the plane crashed with two people parachuting out of it. In this video titled “Breaking: Full Video Of Nigeria Air Force JET Crash In Abuja,” published on September 28, 2018, from 4:34 to 5:25 was an extended version of the viral video claiming that the plane crashed after two persons parachuted out of it.

CONCLUSION

The claim made in the viral video that “Two Persons Parachuted Out Of The Plane Crash That Killed COAS, Lt. Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim And 10 Other Officers,” is FALSE as available evidence showed that the video is from a September 2018 incident which happened in Abuja.

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