By: Sam Doak
August 7 2023
This video was first uploaded in 2006, long before the recent coup in Niger.
On July 26, 2023, the Nigerien government was deposed in a coup by members of the country’s armed forces. This event has attracted widespread global attention partly because Niger’s deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, was commonly perceived as one of the few pro-Western leaders in the region.
Following the coup in Niger, neighboring countries have threatened to take measures to restore President Bazoum and his civilian government. Against this backdrop, narratives have circulated concerning the Wagner group and the possible deployment of the Russian mercenary outfit to Niger.
One widely circulated claim concerns footage of an airplane flying above an urban area. Numerous TikTok users have claimed that this shows the arrival of Wagner troops in Sudan, with one commenting, “BREAKING: Video Footage LEAKED barely an hour ago is presumably the landing of the lI-76 military transport aircraft in Niger, purportedly carrying Wagner PC fighters. Authorities in Niger have officially confirmed the presence of Wagner fighters in the country.”
Despite this video gaining traction online, Logically Facts has determined that it predates the coup and was filmed in another country.
A reverse image search reveals that the footage was uploaded to YouTube on August 5, 2006. In this instance, the caption claims it was recorded in Khartoum, Sudan.
While it was impossible to determine the exact filming location, the area shown in the footage closely resembles Khartoum, which has an airport in its center. Jireif Turn, a distinctive road that borders Khartoum's airport to the south of its runway, appears visible at one point.
The original caption of this video states that the plane is landing in conditions of low visibility. In order to fully disprove that it shows the arrival of Wagner troops in Niger, Logically Facts checked weather reports relating to the capital Niamey. We could find no record of a dust storm – which appears to be underway in the video – or similar weather conditions that would affect the ability of aircraft to land safely.
This video does not show Wagner troops arriving in Niger. It was uploaded to YouTube in 2005, when the user claimed it was filmed in Sudan. This claim has therefore been marked as false.