Gabon coup: 2022 video of former senate president with tons of cash shared as recent

By: Toibah Kirmani
September 4 2023

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Gabon coup: 2022 video of former senate president with tons of cash shared as recent


The Verdict Misleading

This video is from September 2022 when the politician was caught with three suitcases filled with currency notes.

Claim ID ddfdd953

The eighth coup in West and Central Africa since 2020 is currently unfolding in Gabon, where the military announced on August 30 that it had seized power. As Gabon's deposed President Ali Bongo was put under house arrest, social media platforms have become abuzz with videos expressing support for the military takeover, even as several countries have condemned the developments.

What is the claim?

Against this backdrop, a video showing a group of individuals opening a suitcase full of currency notes is going viral on social media. A user shared this video on Facebook (archive here) with the caption, "Breaking News!!!! Gabon Senate President tries to run away to western countries with millions of CFA but dem Don Catch am." This post alone had garnered over 44,000 views and over 590 likes at the time of publishing. The video was also shared widely on X (formerly Twitter). The archive can be found here.

Screengrab of  social media posts with the claim. (Source: Facebook/@Afroonthebeats, @InspiredFamz, X/@Regency_NG. Altered by Logically Facts)

However, the video is old and unrelated to the recent events in Gabon.

What we found

We performed a reverse image search on the video's keyframes which led us to a report published by news outlet TV5Monde Afrique on September 18, 2022. According to the report, originally written in French, Guy Nzouba-Ndama, former president of the Gabonese National Assembly, was arrested in Gabon on September 17, 2022, while returning from the Republic of Congo. He was carrying three suitcases filled with CFA francs (one of two regional African currencies backed by the French treasury). The total sum was worth nearly two million euros, judicial sources announced, according to the report.

The report carried screenshots from the viral video circulating on social media featuring some people, presumably from law enforcement, attempting to open the bags. As in the viral clip, the screenshots also show two men in red attire and a woman with a red turban taking photographs, as a white-haired man wearing a printed violet shirt looks on. The report also carried a news segment featuring scenes from the viral clip. 


A comparison of the 2022 news reports and screenshots from the viral video. (Source: TV5MONDE, X/@Regency_NG/Altered by Logically Facts)

The viral clip was also shared on X (formerly Twitter) by Jeune Afrique, a French news magazine that focuses on Africa, on September 20, 2022. The post title mentioned similar details as the TV5Monde news report. 

Numerous news outlets in Gabon, including Gabon Media Times, had also covered the incident at the time. A follow-up report by the outlet dated September 18, 2022, stated that Guy Nzouba Ndama was eventually released on the same day he was arrested. 

It is evident that the video captures the former senate president being arrested while arriving from Congo in 2022 and not while leaving the country during the military coup in 2023.

The verdict

The video, which is being shared with the claim that Gabon's former senate president was recently arrested while fleeing the country with tons of cash, is from September 2022. Hence, we rate this claim as misleading.

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