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Fake News: French Army Did NOT Save President Ali Bongo in Gabon, Did NOT Capture Military Coup Leaders

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 07 Jan 2019 11:22:38 Z)

Did French troops intervene during the short-lived coup attempt in Gabon today, capturing the military officers responsible? No, that's not true: the story was spread by a known fake news site using an outdated photo from a different country. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published by Journal des Insolites on January 7, 2019 titled "Urgent : L'armée française vol au secour a Ali Bongo et capture les militaires putschiste" (archived here) which opened:

Plutot ce matin, des officiers militaires ont saisi le radiodiffuseur d'état gabonais pour annoncer leur intention de «sauver une démocratie en danger», ce qui semblait être un coup pour le président malheureux Ali Bongo, alors que des coups de feu retentissaient dans la capitale, Libreville.

Translation: 'Since earlier this morning military officers seized the Gabonese state broadcaster to announce their intention to "save a democracy in danger," which seemed like a blow to unhappy President Ali Bongo, as gunshots rang out in the air. capital, Libreville.'

And further down:

Selon notre source, quatre des mutins ont été arrêtés par les unités des forces spéciales françaises présentes sur le territoire gabonais mais selon le porte-parole du gouvernement, le ministre de la Communication Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, les mutins ont été arrêtés par les unités du GIGN gabonais et non par forces spéciales françaises .

Translation: "According to our source, four of the mutineers were arrested by the French special forces units present on the Gabonese territory but according to the spokesman of the government, the Minister of Communication Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, the mutineers were arrested by the units of the GIGN Gabonese and not by French special forces."

Screenshot of http://www.24jours.com/larmee-francaise-vol-au-secour-a-ali-bongo/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Urgent : L'armée française vol au secour a Ali Bongo et capture les militaires putschiste

Plutot ce matin, des officiers militaires ont saisi le radiodiffuseur d'état gabonais pour annoncer leur intention de «sauver une démocratie en danger», ce qui semblait être un coup pour le président malheureux Ali Bongo, alors

There was indeed a coup attempt earlier today but according to the latest updates in this BBC story order has been restored for now and no mention was made about foreign troops intervening:

Soldiers 'seize power' in Gabon

Juniors officers say they have seized power in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader's family has ruled for 50 years. Soldiers in the west African country say they launched a coup "to restore democracy". They took control of the national radio station at 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT) to read a short statement announcing a "National Restoration Council".

The picture used to illustrate the story actually shows French troops in the Central African Republic in 2013:

"More troops needed in CAR to disarm rebels," says Amnesty International | DW | 13.12.2013

DW: A humanitarian crisis is looming over the Central African Republic. Tens of thousands of people have been seeking refuge in makeshift camps around the capital Bangui following a wave of massacres. The sectarian bloodshed erupted last week when a Christian militia group that opposes the Seleka rebels, who are in power in the country, attacked Bangui.

The site that published the "news" carries following disclaimer:

24Jours.com assume toute la responsabilité de la nature satirique de certains de ses articles et de la nature fictive de certains contenus. Tous les personnages apparaissant dans certains articles de ce site Web - même ceux basés sur de vraies personnes - sont entièrement fictifs et toute ressemblance entre eux et toute personne, vivante, morte ou mort-vivante, est purement un miracle.

Si vous voulez des info vérifiées, veuillez regarder France24, CNN, BBC, RT, Euronews ETC. Nous espérons que vous apprécierez le site.

Translation:

24Jours.com assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of some of its articles and the fictional nature of certain content. All the characters appearing in some of the articles on this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictitious and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

If you want verified info, please watch France24, CNN, BBC, RT, Euronews ETC. We hope you enjoy the site.

We wrote about 24jours.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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