Fact Check: Have rioters let loose lions in South Africa

Verdict: False

Claim: Lions have been set loose in South Africa

Verdict: False

Claims were rifle on social media that an angry mob of protesters had pulled down a fence at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal province letting the animals out. Some accounts alleged that some of the animals let loose were lions.

“Watch out for lions”, tweeted @TheDukeofOndini.

However, managers of the game reserve described the claims as false, saying the video circulating on social media is old and not related to the current protests. The Game reserve said the footage is from unrelated protests that happened on 12th May.

“So far we have not experienced any damage to our property,” tweeted the Game Reserve.

South Africa is experiencing  a wave of unrest sparked by the arrest of ex-President Jacob Zuma jailed to 15 months in prison for contempt of Court. So far, the the death toll in South Africa has risen to 72 as violence continues across the country. A total  of 1,234 people have been arrested in relation to the riots.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to “refrain from posting and circulating inflammatory messages on social media, and from spreading rumours or false reports that may create further panic”.

“Many businesses have been totally wiped out and destroyed [by] angry mobs who looted virtually every shop in the centre and the city’s malls” reported the BBC, saying “it will take a while to clear the trail of destruction” across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the two provinces significantly affected by the violence.