Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fake Picture caption still doing the rounds

It alleges that it shows the charred bodies of Nigerian Christians supposedly burned in a massacre perpetrated by Muslim terrorists

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

The picture that has been doing the rounds
LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) -- In the dark days when I worked for the British tabloids, we had a motto which was, "Never let the truth interfere with a good story."

Well sadly, this seems to also be the motto of well-meaning Christians who have been circulating messages claiming that the photo here shows the charred bodies of 500 Nigerian Christians burned in a terrible massacre by Muslim terrorists.
While the story is true, for back in March of 2010, a terrible massacre took place close to Jos where as many as 500 people, many of them women and children, were killed by Hausa-Fulani, Muslim herders, the picture that has been doing the rounds, has nothing to do with Nigeria, but instead comes from a terrible tanker explosion in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Having been born in Northern Nigeria to British missionary parents, and given the Hausa name of Dan Juma (son of Friday), I was horrified when I first saw the picture of the hundreds of charred bodies.

Another picture of the charred bodies not in Nigeria, but Congo
One posting of the picture said, "Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA.PLEASE SHARE IT OR JUST UPLOAD YOUR OWN.BUT SOMEHOW SPREAD IT IF YOU'RE EVEN 1% CHRISTIAN - It is still not over yet!"

Another read: "The religion of peace is really showing us how it needs to be done. Apparently this happened in April 2011, but it did not make front page news. Why does the Western Church think they are special and needs to be raptured before the tribulation starts? We really need a wakeup call."
Being a journalist now for some 43 years, I have learned never to accept these claims on face value, so I did some checking and finally found this story by Katrina Manson of Reuters dated Saturday, July 3, 2010, with the headline, "Fuel tanker explosion kills over 230 in Congo."

So it appears that the photo above was apparently not taken in Nigeria at all, but in Congo and story begins, "At least 230 people were killed when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, unleashing a fire ball that tore through homes and cinemas packed with people watching World Cup soccer.

"Officials said on Saturday the explosion late on Friday also injured 196 people, adding that the death toll could rise.

"They described scenes of devastation in the town of Sange, where houses were burned and bodies littered the streets. Some people died while trying to steal fuel leaking from the tanker, but most were killed at home or watching World Cup soccer in cinemas."

So, like so many of you, I am horrified with the shocking violence that is being perpetrated by groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, but I believe that we should also be careful when we circulate items like this one, and check them out, before claiming them to be true, which this time was apparently was not the case.

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