Threat of Boko Haram school kidnappings in Eastern Cape a hoax, say police

06 September 2019 - 18:05 By Bongani Fuzile

Police in the Eastern Cape have issued a warning about false social media claims alleging that terrorist group Boko Haram is kidnapping children at provincial schools.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga has voiced her concerns about fake news, messages, voice notes and pictures circulated via different social media platforms with scary content, threatening the community about an imminent danger emanating from foreign aggressors.

Ntshinga was responding to a voice note that has been circulated on social media. It is from a man with a foreign accent saying that the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram is in the Eastern Cape.

In the voice note, the man can be be heard saying that they would start attacking small towns between East London and Mthatha. He later says they will start with schools in Butterworth.

"These messages published on social media and online create unnecessary panic, anxiety, discomfort and uncertainty about public safety and national security. This is happening despite the fact that the source of the messages has not been verified," said Ntshinga.

She said that in the past few days police had responded to similar calls ignited by social media content only to find they were false alarms.

"We want to appeal to the public not to give much credit to these messages or share them further."

She said when there was a real or imminent threat to public safety and national security, citizens would will be informed by the relevant authorities.

"Various state organs responsible for national security are capable in their duty and responsibility of protecting the country and its citizens.

"As President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his national address, let us desist from fueling a climate of fear and confusion. We must act responsibly and stop disseminating fake videos, photographs and messages, especially on social media, with an intention of negatively portraying our country and its people."