On Facebook, people have shared photos thousands of times that they say show “two homosexuals burned alive” on January 27 in Bamako, the capital of Mali. The screengrabs come from a video uploaded in July 2017. But it isn’t a case of brutal and violent homophobia: the victims of this horrific attack were actually accused of stealing, and their punishment had nothing to do with their sexuality.

These photos have been making the rounds on Facebook since January 28. They show two men in flames, lying down on the ground in the middle of the road.


Photos published on Monday January 28 on Facebook. The caption reads: "Two homosexuals burnt alive on Sunday evening. It's becoming quite serious in the Malian capital".
 
The FRANCE 24 Observers team found the original video that the photos come from after some research, although it is no longer visible on Facebook. The original video showing the public murder seems to have been filmed and published on July 25, 2017. The captions and comments point to the fact that it shows two men accused of trying to rob a money transfer shop. The same story was also reported by several Malian news sites, although the FRANCE 24 Observers team hasn’t been able to find out if that story is true or not.

The position and appearance of the building and the trees in the background of the video and the photos prove that they show the same scene.

Screengrab from a video published on July 26, 2017. In the background, we can see the same building that is in the posts published on January 28, 2019. The caption reads: "Yesterday, at the Médine market, we burnt alive two young and very competent thieves who had tried to rob a bank".

Photo published on July 26, 2017. There is the same building in the background as in the posts on January 28, 2019.

These photos therefore do not show two gay men who were killed in Bamako on January 27. When our reporter contacted local police and an organisation that works for the protection of the rights of LGBT people, both said that they hadn’t heard of any attack of this kind on that date.
 
This article was written by Pierre Hamdi (@PierreHamdi).