IN SHORT: Niger's coup leaders did reportedly ask Russia's Wagner mercenaries help them hold on to power. But a video circulating online with the claim it shows a planeload of Wagner soldiers landing in Niger in 2023 is 17 years old.
A grainy video of a large plane descending over a dusty city has been circulating on social media since early August 2023 with the claim it's a "leaked" clip of a Russian plane landing in the West African country of Niger, carrying Wagner group mercenaries.
"BREAKING: Video Footage LEAKED barely an hour ago is presumably the landing of the Il-76 military transport aircraft in Niger, purportedly carrying Wagner PMC fighters," a typical caption reads.
President Mohamed Bazoum and other political leaders were arrested, the country's constitution suspended and state institutions shuttered. General Omar Tchiani declared himself the country's new leader of a junta, or military government.
The Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, which includes Niger, quickly condemned the coup. On 30 July Ecowas gave the junta a week to restore democratic order or risk military intervention. But the deadline expired with no action taken.
On 23 August 2023 Yevgeny Prigozhin and other leaders of the Wagner group were killed in a plane crash.
But does the video circulating on social media show an "Il-76 military transport aircraft" landing in Niger in August 2023, "purportedly carrying Wagner PMC fighters"?
Transport plane landing in Sudan during civil war
The Ilyushin Il-76 is a Russian military transport plane first flown in 1976.
Africa Check took a screenshot of the first frame of the video and searched for the source on Google Lens.
This led us to a YouTube video uploaded on 5 August 2006 - 17 years ago.
The video is titled "IL 76 Approach into Khartoum". No more detail is given.
The video has been online since at least 2006, and was possibly filmed in Khartoum. It has nothing to do with the 2023 coup in Niger.