Beware of internet misinformation: hoax footage of atrocities in Ivory Coast

Early this week, we received an extremely violent video from several Web users. It showed men being beaten with sticks and the burnt alive by the side of a road. According to the caption on YouTube, the video allegedly showed footage of a March 29 massacre in the western Ivorian town of Duékoué.
We have chosen not to publish the footage due to its extremely violent nature. However, here is a screenshot of the page below.
In the light of past atrocities that have been committed in the Ivory Coast, such allegations initially appeared reasonable. On March 3, we published extracts from a video in which two men were burnt alive in the centre of Abidjan. This incident was verified by our journalists.
Furthermore, the International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that 'at least 800 people’ were killed in sectarian violence in Duékoué when forces loyal to internationally recognised Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara marched through on their way to Abidjan.
This video comes at a particularly crucial moment in the Ivory Coast, in which a longstanding post-electoral crisis between rival presidential contenders Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara appears to be coming to a head. While there is documented evidence of the brutality committed by incumbent Gbagbo's supporters, there appeared to be little proof of excesses committed by pro-Ouattara forces. This video was presented by Gbagbo supporters as proof of the ‘genocide’ perpetrated by Ouattara’s followers, therefore supposedly showing that atrocities were committed by both sides. 
The video is two years old
It turns out that this video was shot at least two years ago and was probably not taken in the Ivory Coast at all. FRANCE readers alerted us to the fact that the footage was posted in September 2009 on this blog, under the title ‘man-witches being burned alive in Kenya’.
The video was also posted on YouTube just over a month later, bearing a similar caption. There is no evidence to suggest that this dreadful scene actually took place in Kenya, let alone whether the victims are witches. What is certain, however, is given the dates on which they were posted, it is impossible that they be connected in any way to the recent massacre in Duékoué.
This incident is a reminder of the dangers of using amateur content from the web
Are there lessons to be learned from this incident?  Firstly, that in time of war, misinformation tends to be rife. In the Ivory Coast's current situation, some Web users pursuing political agendas are deliberately trying to manipulate the media. More generally, this incident is a reminder that amateur content from the web must be treated with the utmost caution.
Julien Pain
Editor of the Observers website and TV programme

More hoax footage of the same event

Besides the video above, we have also received by email a photo in which dozens of charred bodies can be seen with the caption claiming that it was taken in Duékoué on the March 29. This was widely redistributed through the Facebook pages of Laurent Gbagbo supporters. A reader informed us that this image is also very misleading. It had in fact already been published on this site, and several others, in June 2010. The photo was taken in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a tanker explosion.


Reply to comment | The Observers

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Human burning in the Ivory Coast video.

Thanks for this information. I, and I am sure others take for granted and as truth what we see on the internet because we are reacting not with our minds but with our hearts. A good lesson is to be learned here. I will remember to be more logical and skeptical about these extreme stories I read and see online. Thanks again.

In times of war

the first thing to vanish is the undisputed truth.

Whoever will be responsible for the killings at Duakoue, Gbagbo- or Ouattara-forces, this is a crime and the people responsible have to be brought to trial and stand their punishment.

Fact is, that the international recognised winner of the Nov.28th run-off-election is Alassane Ouattara,
who is hindered by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to fulfil his constitutional duty.
Gbagbo is not a democrat, but a dictator and he brought his country to this civil war again.
He will have to stand trial at the International Crime Court in The Hague for all these crimes, he committed during this more than four month lasting period of atrocities, rapes, killings and displacements in Cote d´Ivoire.
I hope, the International Community will get him alive....

internet information sometimes can be deceptive

but where possible ,we need to check it out before we pass it along...

the entire world as well as

the entire world as well as all the international observers present in cote d'ivoire know that all the massacre has been done by gbagbo forces who blame it on ouattara. if the UN didn't make a move quickly, it would have become a terrible human tragedy. gbagbo is a corrupt, and dangerous dictator that falsely claims himself an elected president. He has a terrible history of oppression, and has no respect for democracy. he attempted to create a civil war and destabilize that region. if he stays alive he must be tried for all the war crimes he committed.

continious misinformations

Ouattara's supporters have killed as well as Gbagbo's supporters. Since 2002 when Ouattara rebels led by Guillaume Soro took arms against the democratic elected government there have killings and massacres. There is no single time Ouattara forces led by Guillaume Soro has been indicted as or has accepted as the acters-authors even in this latest massacre of 800 people at Duekoue. Yesterday 9th April 2011 the UN organisation Human Watch has clearly pointed out Ouattara forces as the authors of this massacre at Duekoue, some peple like you will continue saying it has been done by Gbagbo forces to put the blame on Ouattara forces. Just have a look at Ouattara/Guillaume forces who enter in Abidjan these days to know that they are not disciplined and uncontrolled.
1- As far as these undisciplined guys are not blamed openly or are beeing supported some other way by the intrenational comunity they will continue killing in the name of legality
2- As far as the pure truth of these killings does not emerged, there wll be no riconciliation and Ouattara will find it difficult to convince the world that he is the right man this time to bring peace to Cote d'Ivoire. ( I,m not an Ivorian )