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Saturday, December 3, 2022


    Following the election in Somalia, false coup allegations began to circulate online.

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    According to a video that has been seen over 500,000 times on Facebook, troops staged a coup and demolished the newly-elected president’s mansion just one day after the presidential election in Somalia. This is untrue: no allegations of a coup have surfaced in Somalia, and AFP reporters on the ground have confirmed that the story is inaccurate. Scenes from a military parade held prior to the election are included in the film, which includes footage of soldiers marching.

    This Facebook post was made on May 16, 2022, one day after Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was re-elected president in a long-awaited election. Mohamud defeated incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, who was president from 2012 to 2017.

    The post, in Somali, reads: “BREAKING: Military coup takes effect after forces attack the residence of president-elect Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Farmajo is told not to leave Villa Somalia [the presidential palace] and all Mogadishu streets are closed.”

    It features a video showing various scenes of troops marching, with a Somali voiceover claiming that “mutinous military forces” had captured part of the capital, angered by the results of the election. The voice goes on to claim that the military asked the former president not to leave the presidential palace and told residents to obey a curfew, with no movement allowed until further notice. 

    However, AFP Fact Check found the post’s claims to be false.

    On May 18, 2022, a screenshot of a fake Facebook post was captured.

    No coup

    Since Somalia’s election, AFP reporters in the capital Mogadishu reported that there has been no coup.

    There have also been no reports in the local or foreign media of any attempts to overthrow the administration.

    The presidency’s official Facebook page uploaded a video of Mohamud and Farmajo enjoying a friendly encounter at the presidential palace on May 17, 2022, a day after the deceptive Facebook post was published.

    archival footage

    The Facebook video shows many short shots of troops marching in various areas. They are looped, and the entire video has been given a filter effect.

    Using keyword searches on YouTube, AFP Fact Check was able to trace several of the shots to a military demonstration celebrating the country’s Armed Forces Day on April 12, 2022. 

    Several videos filmed that day (here and here) show nearly identical shots of the troops marching.

    A video report on the celebrations by Somali broadcaster Universal TV also features the same red, blue and white tents seen in the misleading clip. 

    Somalia election

    On May 15, 2022, after a marathon poll involving 36 candidates that was broadcast live on state TV, parliamentary officials counted 214 votes in favour of Mohamud, far more than the number required to defeat his main rival. He was sworn in shortly after votes were counted. 

    As AFP reported, celebratory gunfire erupted in the capital, with many hoping that the vote would draw a line under a political crisis that has lasted well over a year, after Farmajo’s term ended in February 2021 without an election.

    In a reminder of the country’s treacherous security situation, explosions were heard on election day near Mogadishu’s heavily-guarded airport complex where MPs were voting. Police said no casualties were reported in the blasts.

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