Old video of lion spotted in Libya falsely shared as filmed in Sudan

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As heavy fighting in Khartoum raises concerns about the fate of animals in a wildlife reserve, online posts have alleged to show footage of a lion roaming the streets of Sudan’s capital. However, the claim is false: AFP Fact Check found the video was old and filmed in Libya.

On April 20, 2023, a Facebook post shared a 20-second clip showing a lion wandering the streets of a city.

"Khartoum is turning into a second hell. A lion was seen today moving in the street of the capital Khartoum," the video caption reads.

A screenshot of false Facebook post, taken on April 26, 2023

The same claim was repeated in Facebook posts here and here.

A tweet published on April 20, 2023, shared the same video alongside a claim that the lion had "escaped a zoo" in Khartoum.

A screenshot of false tweet, taken on April 26, 2023

The claim comes amid fierce fighting in Sudan, which has plunged the nation into chaos and resulted in the death of hundreds of people. It has also raised concerns about the fate of 25 lions and other animals in a wildlife reserve located an hour southeast of Khartoum.

The facility said it was without electricity to power safety fences around enclosures and running low on food for the felines, AFP reported on April 23, 2023 (archived here).

But the video of a lion roaming in the streets was not filmed in Sudan.

Lion in Libya

Using the verification tool INVID We-Verify, we conducted a reverse image search on keyframes from the video. The results revealed it was captured in Libya.

The video was used in a news report from Sky News Arabia (archived here) about a lion seen wandering around the suburb of Benina on the outskirts of Benghazi in February 2021. The same footage also appeared in Libyan media (archived here).

According to the reports, locals filmed the clip and posted it on social media.

Authorities later rescued the lion.

Sudan conflict

The ongoing conflict in Sudan broke out on April 15, 2023, between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Burhan and Daglo's bitter dispute is centred around the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army -- a key condition for a final deal aimed at restoring Sudan's democratic transition.

Multiple truce attempts have fallen through.

As of April 27, there were reports of airstrikes in Khartoum as the deadly fighting entered its 13th day.

Foreign governments from all corners of the globe have organised road convoys, aircraft and ships to get thousands of their people out of Sudan, while citizens have fled overland to neighbouring countries.

Since the clashes began, AFP Fact Check has spotted several false visuals circulating online claiming to show devastating scenes from the conflict (see here and here).