Old video shows mob attack in Uganda, not Nigerians beating S. Africans in revenge act

For years, Nigerians living in South Africa have been targeted by locals who have accused them of perpetuating crime. Amid the tensions, a video surfaced online claiming to show two South African women being stripped naked and beaten to death in Nigeria in a revenge act. But AFP Fact Check found the footage was unrelated: it was filmed in Uganda in October 2022 when a crowd attacked two alleged criminals.

An X post shared on May 4, 2024, includes a graphic video showing a mob chasing two naked women on a highway before attacking them.

The 20-second video features a voiceover using a South African accent.

“Guys, there is a trend in Nigeria whereby two South African ladies were killed by Nigerian men saying that they are paying revenge for their brothers who were killed in South Africa… Especially our ladies, stop dating Nigerians,” the commentator says.

According to the caption, the attack happened in retaliation for the killing of two Nigerians in South Africa.

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A screenshot of the false X post, taken on May 28, 2024

The same claim was repeated on X.

It was also forwarded many times in South African WhatsApp groups.

A screenshot of a WhatsApp message from South Africa

Foreigners are often made the scapegoats for South Africa’s stubborn crime rates and high unemployment. The growing xenophobia has unleashed a wave of disinformation and sparked deadly riots in recent years (archived here).

Some populist parties used anti-migrant messaging in their campaigns in a bid to seal more votes in South Africa's high-stakes election held on May 29, 2024 (archived here).

But claim about a video allegedly showing a Nigerian attack on South African women is false.

Mob justice in Uganda

Using the InVID-WeVerify plugin, we conducted a reverse image search on keyframes from the video and found a longer version of the footage on an adult site.

The clip shows people shouting vulgarities in Luganda, the most spoken indigenous language in Uganda.

“2 women stripped naked and beaten in public for allegedly stealing in Uganda,” reads a caption in bold seen above the clip and a series of photos published on the site on October 10, 2022.

A separate keyword search on X led to this post published a day later of the same footage.

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A screenshot of the X post, taken on May 29, 2024

Among the results for a Google keyword search were news articles (including here, here and here) about the incident, published days apart between October 8 and 10, 2022 (archived here, here and here).

They described how a crowd had stripped the two women – alleged to be part of a gang of highway robbers -- and filmed them naked on Uganda’s northern bypass.

A screenshot of the Ugandan news articles, taken on May 29, 2024

Using geolocation techniques on Google Maps, we found public service vehicles with blue stripes stationed on the same route where the video was filmed. A vehicle with matching livery can be seen in the video.

A screenshot comparing the public service vehicles in the false post (left) and those on Google Maps on Uganda’s northern bypass (right)

Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed the incident took place in Uganda.

“It is an old case about those women who allegedly were part of a gang that was robbing people along the northern bypass,” Enanga told AFP Fact Check.

“They were rescued but I don’t remember if we arrested the mob.”

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