Thursday, April 4, 2019

Truth about false arrest of French soldiers by the Cameroonian army

Facebook posts shared several hundreds of times since March 26 claim to show the arrest by the Cameroonian army of "French soldiers" fighting alongside Boko Haram. However, none of the images used in these publications shows French soldiers. The French Embassy in Cameroon denies these arrests.

"The Cameroonian army is arresting 8 French soldiers fighting #Boko_Haram," says the Facebook page "Tchieeee I Falled Within Deh" - followed by nearly 140,000 people - which states that "Laurent Fabius, the French minister in charge of Foreign Affairs reportedly ordered the immediate release and repatriation of the said soldiers.

Several other Facebook posts posted since March 26 affirm the same thing, some referring to articles online.

Contacted by AFP, the author of the first article reporting an arrest of French soldiers by the Cameroonian army (article published on January 15, 2015) did not respond to our request. In his article, and in the others published subsequently, there is nothing to support the claim that French soldiers were arrested in Cameroon.

"The article you are referring to obviously dates from 2015, when there was a lot of false information circulating about the French army and Boko Haram, it's a fake like that was all about it. air, "told AFP a spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Cameroon.

In addition, Laurent Fabius is no longer the French Minister of Foreign Affairs since February 2016.

Pictures taken out of context

In addition, none of the three photos used in the various publications mentioning an arrest of French soldiers shows any soldiers of the French army:

one of these photos was actually taken by AFP in Zimbabwe in March 2004, and shows the British mercenary Simon Mann, who had been accused of being the "brain" of a thwarted coup in Equatorial Guinea against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Another photo actually shows US marines alongside Cameroonian soldiers, as can be shown by a reverse image search. This shot was taken in February 2016 in Limbe, Cameroon, during a training session given by the US Marine Forces to the Cameroonian company Palm Palms. It is found here on the official website of the US Marines.

Finally, a last photo used by some Internet users also shows a training session between US Marines and the Cameroonian army. This image, taken in February 2018, is particularly visible here, on the Alamy image bank.

Source: AFP