Video of alleged arms trafficking stokes tensions in Guinea and Ivory Coast

After ethnic clashes left at least 14 dead in Beoumi, Ivory Coast, in mid-May, a video purporting to show arms trafficking in the region has only further stoked tensions between the various populations.

The video, published on the Facebook page “Beoumi” on May 24, claims to show weapons being smuggled in motorcycles and has since been shared more than 8,000 times. “Here’s how people are hiding and transporting military weapons!” the caption reads.

While the mid-May clashes were not explicitly named in the video’s caption, the “Beoumi” Facebook page had previously shared numerous posts about police weapons raids in the days that followed the violence. The video appeared to suggest that one of the groups involved in the violence had smuggled in the weapons.

The video also circulated widely on social media, through private messages, in neighboring Guinea. “Fulani people like motorcycles made by TVS so they can use them to smuggle weapons,” one user wrote. “On May 19, more than 75 war weapons were seized in Labé and Koumdara near the border between Senegal and Guinea.”

But the video doesn’t show arms trafficking in Ivory Coast. Here’s how we found where it came from.

Tracking down the original video

Many users expressed doubt about where the video came from, as it was posted on Facebook without sound. Some suggested the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Cameroon.

So how to you establish its origin?

A reverse image search pulls up nothing. The format of the video was modified and text was added to the screen, which confuses the algorithms. But if you type the caption into the Facebook search bar (“Voici comment les gens cachent et transportent des armes de guerre!” or “Look at how people are hiding and transporting weapons of war!”), you will find another version with sound.

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About Cholo Brooks 10596 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.