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A short video circulating since January 12 on Facebook and Twitter claims to show the arrest of “French terrorists” in Mali, with some accounts sometimes attributing it to the Russian group Wagner. The video actually shows the presentation to the press of suspects after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.

Flag of Mali added to the screen, the sequence of about ten seconds shows nine men handcuffed and led into a room by men in military uniforms and hooded. Some captions associated with these videos state “French terrorists arrested in Mali congratulations. The Wagner company is not someone’s comrade” referring to the ongoing deployment of the Russian private security group in Mali.

>> To read on the Observers: Flights and satellite images raise fears of a deployment of the Wagner group in Mali

Example of a post shared more than 17,000 times claiming to show the arrest of "french terrorists" in Mali.
Example of a post shared more than 17,000 times claiming to show the arrest of “French terrorists” in Mali. © Facebook

Contents archived here by the editorial staff of the Observers.

How to find the origin of this video

As explained the Central African verification media Oubangui Check, a search via the InVid Weverify verification tool (see here how to use it) and the use of the Yandex search engine makes it possible to find traces of the video in July 2021 on Russian-speaking YouTube accounts, under the title: “The assassinated president of Haiti was not the target of the criminals, they declared during interrogation”.


Additional research based on this new video and this information makes it possible to find a more complete report. d’Euronews documenting the arrest of these men. We see the exact same people as in the first video, including a man wearing an “Army” t-shirt.

Comparison of the video relaying false information (left), and a Euronews report (right) on the arrest of suspects in Haiti after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse.  The same man with a T-shirt "Army" is visible in both videos.
Comparison of the video relaying false information (left), and a Euronews report (right) on the arrest of suspects in Haiti after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse. The same man with an “Army” T-shirt can be seen in both videos. © Observers / Euronews

Those men were presented to the press on July 8, 2021 in Port-au-Prince, and the police said they had arrested at least 21 people, including 18 Colombians, suspected of being involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, which occurred on July 7.

Conclusion

This video appears from July 9, 2021 on social networks and shows the presentation to the press of suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, and therefore in no case an arrest of “French terrorists” in Mali.

Publications claiming to show the arrest of “French terrorists” who collaborate with jihadist groups in Mali are frequent, and generally rely on images taken out of context, as explained to our editorial staff photographer King Massassy, ​​whose photo was hijacked to spread false information.

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