Screen grab from the video showing a man tying together the young woman's legs, before she is stoned.
WARNING: The following image may shock viewers.
A gruesome video showing a schoolgirl apparently being stoned to death went viral in Nigeria on Thursday, with many believing claims that it shows Islamist militants from Boko Haram stoning one of the 200 children they kidnapped in Chibok, northern Nigeria three weeks ago.
However, FRANCE 24 can confirm that this video was in fact published back in early 2013 on several websites, and likely shows a stoning in Somalia that dates back several years.
Our Observer in Nigeria, who has been campaigning for the schoolgirls’ safe return, believes that these types of rumours are spreading like wildfire due to the lack of information coming from the government about their search for the missing schoolgirls.
Due to the disturbing nature of the footage, FRANCE 24 has decided to publish only screen grabs of the video. The nearly 11-minute long video shows a young woman being buried in the ground up to her neck. She is then stoned by multiple men as a crowd watches from a distance, and finally appears to be lifeless. The video is dubbed with the voice of a man reciting Koranic verses.
The Nigerian Minister for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, quickly dismissed the video’s validity and said that a 2008 BBC report shows that the stoning took place in Somalia.
The BBC article cited by the minister, which is based on eyewitness testimonies, describes a stoning similar to the one shown in the video, though the article does not include any images. Somalian journalists contacted by FRANCE 24 said they had never seen this mysterious video before, but that it could have very well been filmed in their country since the scenery in the video looks similar to that around Kismayo, the town where the stoning reported by the BBC took place.
However, none of this has stopped the video from continuing to spread.
“The government incites the spread of rumours by only giving out information that it favours”
Kathleen Ndongmo, who lives in Lagos, has taken part in rallies to demand that the authorities do more to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls.
Posting a video of this nature and attributing it to current events without verifying it is telling. I have to wonder – why would no one stop for a moment, and realize that since no pictures of the girls have been published, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain whether or not the girl in the video being stoned is one of the kidnapped girls?Some people lack education, and some like the limelight: for Nigeria’s middle-class “elite”, one’s Twitter status is considered a sign of popularity and power, so some would do anything to get more followers.The government incites this type of behavior by only giving out information that it favours and selects. [Editor’s Note: the authorities have been widely criticised for giving out very little information on their search and rescue efforts, as well as for announcing early on that 100 schoolgirls had been rescued, before backtracking on the statement]. However, I think this should be an incentive for all Nigerians to verify any information given to them, whether it is from the government or any other source. The government has failed us, yes, but we cannot fail ourselves.