The Islamic State group sent a barbaric “message to Christians” showing the killing of nearly a dozen men in Nigeria in a video released at Christmas time.
Claiming retaliation for the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died during a US raid in Syria in October, the video purportedly showed the brutal execution of 11 Christian men in Nigeria by jihadists from the Islamic State West African Province, the BBC reported.
The 56-second video, released apparently to coincide with Christmas, was posted Thursday online by the IS “news agency” Amaq and reportedly showed the male victims who IS said they were “captured in the past weeks” in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State.
“This is a message to Christians all over the world,” a masked man said in the video which was filmed in an unidentified outdoor area.
One of the captives was shot dead while the other 10 were pushed to the ground before being beheaded, the BBC reported.
“We killed them as revenge for the killing of our leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and [IS spokesman] Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir,” a member of the group’s media unit said, according to journalist Ahmad Salkida who was first sent the video.
The Islamic State West African Province, once part of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram until breaking away in 2016, has recently ramped up attacks on civilians, blocking roads and conducting searches, according to Agence France-Presse.
The “increasing practice by armed groups to set up checkpoints targeting civilians” in Nigeria was condemned by the United Nations this week but the group continues its barbaric tactics and frequently uses hostages as bargaining tools.
Six people were killed and five others abducted when their vehicle was intercepted last weekend by the jihadists on a highway outside of the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.
According to BBC:
The militant group has previously killed a number of hostages, including members of the security forces and aid workers but this is the largest group to be killed at one time.
It is not clear how many captives Iswap is currently holding in Nigeria, but there are believed to be dozens – mainly security forces, aid workers and those perceived to be associated with government institutions.
Earlier this month Iswap fighters disguised as Nigerian soldiers claimed to have captured six soldiers and eight civilians in an attack at a checkpoint set up near Maiduguri. The violent acts by the group have spread to neighboring areas including Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Mali.
A video released last week by the group showed the 11 alleged hostages appealing to the Nigerian government and the Christian Association of Nigeria to intervene and secure their release.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram jihadists killed seven people on Christmas Eve, storming a Christian village near the town of Chibok riding motorcycles and driving trucks as they burned homes and shot at fleeing residents, according to Agence France-Presse.
The town was the location of the infamous mass kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014 that sparked international outrage.
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