Recently, some images released on the messaging platform – WhatsApp – are said to have come from gold mining sites in Zamfara State.
The photos were released to convey the narrative that the killings in Zamfara were primarily the result of gold mining activities in the state.
The WhatsApp message accompanying the footage also claimed that “too many senior government officials are involved” in gold mining activities in Zamfara.
“In case you are wondering why the killings in Zamfara are endless and escalating, the following photo should give you an idea,” the post read.
“Resource control is simple! Zamfara has one of the purest gold deposits in Africa. Too many senior government officials are involved. It’s a valid conspiracy theory.
A bit of background: Zamfara is one of the states in the federation with gold deposits. Over the years, the gold deposit in the state has sparked controversy over two main topics: illegal mining and resource control.
With respect to illegal mining, the federal and state governments have repeatedly attributed the rise in banditry in Zamfara to the activities of illegal miners in the state.
BUT ARE THESE PHOTOS OF ZAMFARA GOLD MINING SITES?
To verify the images claimed to be from Zamfara’s gold mining sites, TheCable subjected the images to a reverse image search on multiple search engines.
TheCable discovered that the images accompanying the claim have been circulating on social media since 2019 – a development that shows the post is being recycled. To see here.
The first version of this image seen on the Internet was published by Reuters February 23, 2009. The International News Platform said the image shows gold miners digging an open pit mine at Chudja mine in Kilomoto concession near Kobu village in the northern part -eastern Congo, a country in central Africa.
On February 23, 2011, an online magazine — The Velvet Magazine — in a post titled “Pictures of the Day: Gold Mining in Myanmar/Burma,” posted the image above. The platform said the image shows dozens of Burmese miners working 30 miles from the town of Myitkyina in Myanmar. Another news platform, in a report published on April 25, 2015, assigned image to mining activities in Myanmar.
This image has been used in several articles on the Internet to represent gold coins. The image was first organized by TinEye, an image search engine, on May 16, 2013. There was no comment on where the image was taken. Social media posts began attributing the image to Zamfara in 2019.
These images of gold mining sites attributed to Zamfara State on social media platforms are fake. The images are of occurrences of gold mining activities in other parts of the world such as Congo and Myanmar.
This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.