Last Friday, Cameroonian authorities paid tribute to 38 soldiers recently killed while fighting against terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and against other militants in the Central African Republic. Three days later, an article was posted on the government's official website showing the president bowing before a soldier’s coffin.
If the photo showing the coffins indeed came from last week’s solemn ceremony, the right-hand part of the image has been digitally manipulated. President Paul Biya was not at the ceremony, which was presided over by the minister of defence, because Biya was in Europe. The image was edited using an old picture of the president taken during Cameroon National Day on May 20.
Screen grab posted Monday evening on the official website of Cameroon's presidency
Contacted by France 24, Cameroon's communications minister claimed that the website had been hacked:
We're aware of the seriousness of such an image; it's a fake picture because at the time President Paul Biya was in Europe. The photo was illegally modified by someone who managed to hack into the site. It's impossible that this came from someone internally; everyone knew very well that the president was abroad.
Several local journalists have claimed that the fake image was produced by the site's webmaster, whom they suspect of having allowed his imagination run wild.
The offending article has since been deleted, but internet users managed to capture screenshots in time. The photo was splashed across the front pages of several Cameroonian newspapers on Wednesday morning.
The photomontage was on the front page of several newspapers in Cameroon on Wednesday morning