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More than one million people have fled Gaza since a fresh war erupted in the enclave after Hamas attacked Israel in October 2023, based on United Nations figures. Recent social media posts claimed that two Nigerians escaping the conflict were arrested at the border with Egypt with $1.6 million they stole from their Gazan boss. But the claim is false: the photo shows two men arrested in India in August for alleged cybercrime.
“Breaking News: Two AfganEastern boys living in Gaza caught with a stolen money while trying to escape through Egypt/Gaza border [sic],” reads a post shared on X, formerly Twitter on October 28, 2023.
The term “Afgan Eastern” is an ethnic slur referring to Igbos from southeast Nigeria.
Shared by a supporter of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, the claim featuring a two-minute clip has been reposted nearly 200 times.
The video shows photos of two men, a box of money, a man raising the Palestinian flag, and a male on-screen narrator.
The narrator claims the two “Nigerians” were arrested while trying to flee to Egypt for stealing “$1.6 million from their Palestinian boss lady in Gaza”.
He said the men are named “Chinaza” and “Ekperifuna”.
Israel has bombarded the Palestinian territory of Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants, which killed around 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
More than 8,500 people, mostly civilians, have died in Gaza, the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory said in its latest toll (archived here).
Weeks of war have displaced more than 1.4 million people as of October 29, 2023, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) (archived here).
The UN also warned the civil order was starting to break down after thousands of people ransacked aid warehouses (archived here).
However, the video does not show Nigerians arrested after stealing money from their Gazan employer.
Arrested in India
AFP Fact Check traced the video in the claim to a TikTok account called “Dagger of Monrovia”, a name visible in the clip.
The Liberian TikTok account published the false claim on October 26, 2023. People who commented on the post appeared to believe the allegations.
However, using the InVID-WeVerify video verification tool, AFP Fact Check found that the image had been online more than a month before Hamas attacked Israel.
The cybercrime police unit in the Indian city of Rachakonda published the photos of the pair (archived here) on X on August 24, 2023.
The post also contained an official statement saying the two Nigerian nationals had been arrested in West Delhi on August 15, 2023, for “duping victims in the guise of sending gift parcels” (archived here).
The police gave their names as Omenonye Sylvester and Alimeke Endurance Chukkwuka — not “Chinaza” and “Ekperifuna”.
An Indian news outlet also published a story about the arrests (archived here).
A reverse image search revealed the photo of the money was posted online at least seven years ago. It was used as cover art for a song published on SoundCloud, an audio-sharing platform, on August 10, 2016 (archived here).
The renewed conflict between Israel and Hamas has generated a wave of disinformation online. You can follow our coverage here.