Does this Photo Show a Massacre of 2000 Nigerians?

A photo of charred bodies is circulating online, with claims that it shows 2000 Nigerians massacred "2 days after Paris." Is this photo real or fake?

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The photo is real, but the story attached to it is unrelated.

First appearance: 2011

The photo (which we have blurred below) first circulated heavily online in mid-2011. At that time, it was claimed that the photo showed Nigerian Christians burnt alive by Muslims. That story was untrue.

Let’s look at the 2011 version. A common caption read:

Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA…(Posted by Jillian Becker in Africa, Arab States, Christianity, Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims, Islam, Muslims, jihad)…..PLEASE SHARE IT OR JUST UPLOAD YOUR OWN…BUT SOMEHOW SPREAD IT IF YOU’RE EVEN 1% CHRISTIAN — It is still not over yet! —

The photo and story were angrily shared by readers unaware that photo did not depict an act of violence, but the aftermath of an accident, as detailed below.


In January 2015, the photo surfaced once again online. This time the caption claimed that it was evidence of a massacre in Nigeria. “This is Nigeria. A massacre of 2000 happened 2 days after Paris. They are not Charlie. They are dead.”

That, too, is an incorrect description of the photo.

The caption appears to reference a 2015 report that as many as 2000 were feared dead in a massacre in Nigeria. As the Guardian reported:

Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International described as the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

Real Incident: Tanker Explosion

Loonwatch posted an excellent dissertation debunking the false description of photo when it first circulated in 2011. That site showed – with many additional photos –  that the charred bodes were in fact a result of a tanker explosion in Congo in July 2010.

Reuters originally covered the explosion, writing:

“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.”

Africa Check also published a rather convincing piece debunking claims about the photo at the time.

Bottom Line

The photo which allegedly shows a massacre of 2000 Nigerians is incorrectly labeled. It actually shows the aftermath of a tanker explosion which occurred in Congo back in 2010. The photo also circulated in 2011 as an example of Christians burned in Nigeria, which was also a misrepresentation of the photo. Although a massacre of 2000 in Nigeria has been reported in January 2015, this photo does not depict that tragedy.

Updated January 11, 2015
Originally published October 2011

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35 Comments on Does this Photo Show a Massacre of 2000 Nigerians?

  1. jegede olabode // December 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm // Reply

    God, have mercy on us.

  2. No. We are to love and respect eachtother, yes. We are all God’s creation. But we are NOT all God’s children, the bible tells us that only those who are born of God are His children, those that are born again from the Spirit. The true Gospel is a gospel of love and self-abandon yes but also a radical message: only by Jesus Christ are we saved.

  3. Thank you really .. I have just seen this photo in an Arabic fb page claiming it is for Muslims burnt alive in Burma … and no wonder it is fired the commentators and the re-posters !!
    a very simple search in Google lead me here .. I informed the page admin but he is still ignoring and I am sure he will not apologize and tell the truth .. i guess he knows the truth before posting !!!

  4. suzanne bowers // August 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm // Reply

    Our freedom is taken for granted everyday we must have order in society or it will all come to anarchy we must stop the likkings everywhere and change and only god can do that….we must not judge we will be judged jesus saves eternally…

  5. Folks… Muslims,Christians,or whatever religion you maybe. Religion doesn’t kill people. People do. Every murder or killing,or collateral damage victim lost their life because someone felt it was necessary based on where they stand. The idea of murder in 2013 seems so stone age. In 2013 man is still acting like barbarians. As long as our societies continue to sell propaganda and spread lies along with misleading information— for the reason of making a profit we all will suffer. At some point and time we have to stop arguing and come together like adults and take a closer look at what organization(s) or group(s) that are profiting from all of this pain, so that we can create a better world because we are capable of doing so.

  6. Taquia.

    That’s a purported loophole in the Ten Commandments that a pious Muslim can bear false witness to protect or advance his faith.

    If Abraham is father to both Jacob and Ishmael, isn’t Abraham’s god the same as Mohamed’s god? I think so. God doesn’t make killers, Human theologists do.

  7. Umer Aslam // July 27, 2012 at 9:21 am // Reply

    I am a muslim and have many christian friends here in pakistan… muslims can never do such things.. this fake news was created to promote the muslims-christian hatred…and to strat a civil war

  8. Yes, I have one evidence you could be interested in, we all know that muslims have always been fought all around the world, you know ? Palestine, Chechnya, Sreprenica, Afganistan, Dagestan, Lebanon, India, Kosova and Timor ??????? and so on …

    Muslims in Dagestan are fighting Russia whilst USA themeselves are afraid of her, Muslims in Chechnya were fighting Russia too, Serbia wasn’t weak neither when Bosnia fought her back …

    And that is not only nowadays that it happens, it has been this way since Islam state broke down …

    So why now ? why are we accused to be the dark side of the tragedy ???

    We muslims are never afraid of nuclear monopolies and powerful empires, all the world knows that muslims don’t fight the way jew’s media illustrates…

  9. Misguided zealots in every religion commit atrocities, although unbiased news reports in the last decade seem to show that Islam has more than its share of these now. “Christian” zealots can be pests but are rarely violent. Muslims who want to defend their reputation as civilized believers should be reacting strongly against those who defame the name of Allah by their zealotry. Quietly wishing the idiots will go away doesn’t work. Being angrily defensive against those who ask about atrocities is not the best reaction either. PROVE your peacefulness by focusing on those who are peace-breakers. Start with those who TEACH violence, not with those who commit it. Chop off the snake’s head.

  10. Muhammad bilal imtiaz // June 28, 2012 at 4:43 am // Reply

    yes give us the link man …!!1

  11. tahir musa // June 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm // Reply

    amazing! in allover the world Muslim and Christians live in peace what happened in Syria and lybia Bosnia Rwanda Darfur first and second world war all this fight and killing not for religious approach simply

  12. Once again, I see the religious zealots are going to believe what ever best feeds their propaganda machine, regardless of the truth!

  13. Cathy, that is a terrible video for sure. It doesn’t, however, refute the specific photo in question.

  14. Prove it !!! Prove that its fake !!! Otherwise stop talking lies !!!

    • Ben – Links to the original news stories of the tanker explosion containing the photo in question were posted here, and even more on Loonwatch. I’m not saying violence against people of faith doesn’t happen, just that this particular photo is not the case. If you have conflicting evidence, I’m happy to post it here.

  15. billy bobred // October 19, 2011 at 8:54 am // Reply

    Those who base their lives on a pile of steaming bullsheet can only feel alive by adding more bullsheet in their brains. But the one who love them most are their masters who benefit from their ultra cheap labor and disregard for their own health.

  16. Savetheworld, if such a video exists, can you provide links to it?

  17. I don’t quite agree with this incident.How do u prove it is not done by muslims? They can bomb down a tower in US or other terrorist activity.For this case it could be real that they really killed the christians. from:free -tinker

    • Anonymous – The tanker story was covered by reputable news services before any such stories of burning Christians ever surfaced. People have been killed due to their faith for thousands of years, but that wasn’t the case with this particular photo.

      facebookusersince2008 – Well put. That is the moral of the story here!

  18. facebookusersince2008 // October 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm // Reply

    i’ve learned my lesson about this kind of hoax a long time ago so whenever i see something like this on facebook, i don’t buy it instantly. my initial reaction is hitting my google bookmark and find something that confirms that post.

    people should learn to control their emotions. like what the popular tv network in our country says on their social media campaign.. i’d say Think first before you CLICK!

  19. Eric de Leon // October 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm // Reply

    I don’t beleive that our Muslim brethern will do such a thing… Eric de Leon, Metro Manila, Philippines

  20. Eric de Leon // October 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm // Reply

    We are all GOD’s children whether we are Muslims, Christians, Buddist etc. There are no religions that I know of that teaches cruelty to a fellow human being until we pervert it w/ our self righteousness, selfishness. Some of us even have a messianic attitude. Let us respect each other’s religious beliefs as we are all decent human beings created in the image and likeness of GOD who is our Creator…. Im a Christian ! Eric de Leon, Metro Manila,Philippines

    • Muhammad bilal imtiaz // June 28, 2012 at 4:39 am // Reply

      i agree with you ……but we cant change our religion as we adopted it from our elders ……. but the truth is that we all will die one day ….and are the men of God… say God we say Allah …. this is not a big difference ……we must beware of the propoganda against each other …God bless us All !!

  21. Michael Hanley // October 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm // Reply

    I for one, I’m sick of Islamophobia thing. The Christian needs to THINK WITH THEIR BRAINS, NOT WITH THEIR HEARTS!
    I lived for many years at few Muslim countries, been to Iran, and I have NEVER EXPERIENCE anything like Muslim-killing-Christians. In fact, they live PEACEFULLY with them, like in Iran, they have Jews living with the Shiite-Muslim there for MANY YEARS.
    Don’t let the Western news made a PERCEPTION for you Christians. They made a perception to put that in your head, especially to those Christians who have never met a Muslim or get along with them. This hoax stories isn’t the first time. I’ve seen many. I’m not saying all but there many DEVIL (not Evil but Devil!) CHRISTIANS out there who call themselves a ‘Christian’.
    I am NOT backing up the Muslims. But I’m backing up the TRUTH! This is INSANE. Christians are DOOM to believe in such things created by the Anti-Muslims, without making a research the false claims. Nuff said from me!

    • Careful though. I have close contact with opendoors, christians in muslim countries often have no problems when they are from the outside (not always as you can google the name tilmann geske for example). But the big problems are for those that were muslims and convert to christianity. I know one person who experienced this and have gheard of many many storied like this in Pakistan, Ouzbekistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan to name only few…
      I know missionaries that worked in some muslim countries and yes persecution is real. Maybe read “I dared to call him father” by Bilquis Sheikh

  22. Robert Spinster // October 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm // Reply

    This is so typical of Islamophobes.

    To twist and turn to suit their own agenda.

    How utterly pathetic…

  23. Thanks for the additional info Dubai.

  24. The Loonwatch link goes to a 404 error (page not found.) Thought you’d want to know.

    • Thanks for pointing that out mrsl… Apparently they updated the article in the past 24 hours, which altered the url. I have updated it above.

  25. thank u very much for defending us Muslims…i dunno if u are one but i am very3 grateful indeed…peace =)

  26. how can i believe like the person you Belem false history. how can i make sure my self if your evidence is truth. give me solid evidence if you can.

  27. can you send me the real web that this picture available.

  28. Thanks for the info , I always google Facebook “news” before biting the propaganda hook, sites like this sway others to do the same

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