An investigation was carried out by Kate Wilkinson and Julian Rademeyer for AfricaCheck.org; a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Their findings was published on PREMIUM TIMES with permission.
The horrific images show dozens of charred corpses lying in rows in the sun. In the background near a ruined building with a rusting corrugated iron roof police, soldiers and medics – some of them wearing masks to hide the stench – stand around helplessly. A caption across the top of the photograph reads: “Boko Haram burns 375 Christians”
After thorough investigation, Africa Check quickly discovered the picture was all too horribly genuine. But while it does depict a real event, it is not evidence of a massacre of 375 Christians by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Rather, it shows the aftermath of a fuel tanker explosion nearly 2000 kilometres away from Nigeria in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
That tragedy, which occurred exactly four years ago today, killed at least 230 people and injured 190. The fuel tanker apparently overturned while trying to overtake a bus. Bystanders were attempting to collect leaking fuel from the truck when the fuel ignited, possibly as the result of a lit cigarette. Many of the dead had gathered nearby to watch a World Cup soccer match.
Due to its graphic nature, the image of the charred corpses was not widely published but it did slip into circulation on the Internet.