FACT CHECK: Did The US Government Issue This Statement Recommending U.S. Citizens Leave Uganda?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a U.S. government statement recommending for U.S. citizens in Uganda to leave the country.
The document appears to be fabricated. The State Department and U.S. Mission Uganda said the message is false.
The alleged document, titled “U.S. Citizen Evacuation in Uganda,” is attributed to “Department Spokesperson” John Kirby. It includes a seal for the U.S. Mission Uganda in the upper-right corner and says “approximately 18 U.S. officials and private citizens and approximately 21 citizens of other countries” have so far been evacuated.
“This morning, the United States — in coordination with the United Nations and in consultation with the Ugandan government — are to safely evacuate American citizens from Uganda, Ugandan. U.S. citizens and citizens from our partner nations are to be flown from different parts of Uganda to Entebbe on UN and U.S. civilian helicopters,” reads the purported statement in part. “The U.S. government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of United States citizens in Uganda.”
In reality, the document is not a genuine statement from the State Department or the U.S. Mission Uganda. The statement does not appear in any press release issued by the Office of the Spokesperson at the State Department, nor can it be found on the U.S. Embassy in Uganda’s website. Kirby, who worked at the State Department from December 2015 to January 2017, now serves as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, according to his Defense Department biography.
“This material did not originate with the U.S. Department of State,” a Department of State spokesperson confirmed to Check Your Fact via email. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Young People Stopping A Police Officer From Stealing A Ballot Box During Uganda’s 2021 Presidential Election?)
The fake document appears to have been circulating since at least 2016. The U.S. Mission Uganda tweeted in February 2016 that the message was false, saying, “No such message has been sent, no such decision has been made.”
The message claiming the US is evacuating its citizens from #Uganda is false. No such message has been sent, no such decision has been made.
— U.S. Mission Uganda (@usmissionuganda) February 20, 2016
The State Department’s Feb. 19 travel advisory for Uganda says to “reconsider travel to Uganda due to COVID-19” and to “exercise increased caution in Uganda due to crime.”