Did illegal migrants in Germany evade deportation by breaking a window and jumping out of a bus moving slowly in traffic? No, that's not true: The details of this widely circulated video are not well documented, but the video was not filmed in Germany. All indications -- from the captions on the earliest copies of the video to the registration tag visible on a car on the highway -- are that this video was filmed in Algeria.
The earliest copy of the video that Lead Stories identified was posted by the Facebook page Tunisino a roma on June 30, 2023. The caption was written in Arabic. Translated by Google, it reads:
Sub-Saharan Africans escape from a bus during deportation
The video is from Algeria
Illegal migrants who decided to be deported from Germany found a way to stay in it
The account @SpriterTeam, which used to have the handle @Spriter99880, is known for posting pro-Russia disinformation. Lead Stories has debunked several of their claims in the past (here, here and here).
Many of the earliest reports of the incident simply consisted of a copy (here and here) of a brief, July 3, 2023, article in the Arabic edition of RT, formerly Russia Today, the state-financed Russian broadcaster. That article states that this scene was filmed in Algeria, without otherwise specifying the location. The RT article has embedded a July 2, 2023, tweet from @Abc arabia1, which has a higher quality copy of the 12-second video (pictured below) than the repost by @SpriterTeam (pictured above) where the license plate is not legible.
The numbers of the license plate correspond with the Algerian registration system. The Algerian rear plate is yellow with three groups of numbers. On the right side of this plate, the number 16 represents the Algerian wilaya, or province, Alger. In the middle group of three numbers, the 1 is for a passenger vehicle and 15 is for the year it was first registered, 2015. The plate alone is not proof that this footage is Algerian, but this vehicle's registration tag supports the initial reporting that the video was filmed in Algeria.
Translated by Google, the tweet embedded in the RT Arabic article reads:
Algeria.. a group of illegal immigrants escaped from the Sahel and Sahara countries before deporting them to their countries
#ABC_arabia #new_update #immigration
(Source: Lead Stories composite image made with X screenshot taken on Fri Jul 28 13:30:07 2023 UTC)
Some earlier instances of this video (here and here), posted on July 2, 2023, bear the watermark of the Russian state media outlet Sputnik. Searching in Arabic, French and English as well as using a reverse image to search Sputnik's many publications, Lead Stories was unable to locate an article paired with the watermarked 14-second video.
The Sputnik-branded videos are two seconds longer than the other videos of the breakout from the bus. The additional footage appears at the start of the video as the driver puts down his car window. An example of this video, posted on X, is captioned:
‼️ Algeria..a circulating video of a mass escape of illegal immigrants from the Sahel and Sahara countries before deporting them to their countries
(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Jul 28 22:12:24 2023 UTC)
There were additional instances where this video was labeled as somewhere other than Algeria. Opera News Nigeria published an article on July 19, 2023, that falsely identified this as a South African video and identified the migrants as Nigerian:
In recent times, a distressing incident has come to light in South Africa, where Nigerian immigrants facing deportation are resorting to extreme measures to avoid being repatriated to their homeland. Reports suggest that some Nigerians have resorted to jumping out of moving buses while being transported to the airport for deportation.
A July 24, 2023, tweet by @city_digest falsely claimed the people jumping from the bus were Ghanaians in Germany. In a July 24, 2023, article with the video, topstoriesworld.com falsely claimed that not only were the illegal immigrants in Germany, but they had jumped from a moving train.
Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about illegal migrants can be found here.