A short video, purportedly showing an “Indian” soldier in camouflage catching a snake with his bare hands and crawling with it through a jungle, has gone viral on social media, especially on Youtube and Facebook. Some media outlets, too, have reported on it. The video can be seen here, here and here.
A reverse image search of keyframes of the video led us to this Youtube short, uploaded on September 14, 2021, which itself is a longer version of the viral clip. The channel’s name was Calon Prajurit, which we learnt, via Google Translate, was Indonesian for “Soldier Candidate”.
According to the description, translated from Indonesian, the channel shares all things about the Indonesian National Army, including drills, tips for graduating from the army, graduating from the military and passing the police test. This specific video was titled “TNI SI HANTU RIMBA”, which translated into “TNI the ghost of the jungle. We learnt that TNI is the abbreviation for the Indonesian National Military (Tentara Nasional Indonesia).
While running a keyword search for “TNI ghost of the jungle”, we came across Kopassus, an Indonesian Army special forces group that goes by the nickname Hantu Rimba (ghost of the jungle). The group conducts special operations missions for the Indonesian government and specialises in jungle warfare, amid allegations of human rights violations. According to this Reuters report from January 24, 2018, then US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saw Indonesian troops drink snake blood, roll in glass, break bricks with their heads, walk on fire, and more, in a rare military demonstration meant to show the unique skills of Indonesia’s military.
“Perhaps the highlight was a demonstration involving live snakes, which Indonesian forces brought out in bags and scattered on the ground, just feet from where Mattis was standing. That included a King Cobra, which widened its neck as if it were going to attack. The soldiers then cut off the snake heads and fed the snake blood to each other, as the crowd looked on. At least one Indonesian soldier bit a snake in half,” the report read, adding, “Indonesian forces are active in jungle conditions and do have to deal with snakes at times…some of the troops came from Kopassus, Indonesia’s elite special forces, a Pentagon spokesman said.”
Viral short video of soldier catching a snake is not of Indian Army, but of a training related to Indonesian military.
Youtube video, September 14, 2021
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