3 Christians executed by Islamic extremists in Nigeria

Screenshot of a video released by the Islamic State West Africa Province showing the killings of five kidnapped Nigerian Christians.
Screenshot of a video released by the Islamic State West Africa Province showing the killings of five kidnapped Nigerian Christians. | Intersociety

Islamic State West Africa Province, an extremist faction, has executed three Christian men in Nigeria’s Borno State, according to images that have surfaced on social media shared by the terror group through its propaganda outlet.

The images, shared by the Islamic State group or ISIS, from which ISWAP splintered, through its propaganda outlet Amaq News Agency, depicted the victims kneeling with their arms tied behind their backs in front of three masked gunmen. Subsequent photos captured the men falling to the ground as gunmen fired upon them, raising clouds of smoke.

The three men were reportedly abducted from a vehicle traveling on a highway in the northern state on June 3, noted the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

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Reports indicate that while Muslim passengers were allowed to depart, the Christian passengers were targeted for abduction. A fourth Christian passenger was also abducted, but their condition remains unknown.

The Rev. Ibrahim Abako, secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, or CAN, in Yobe State, confirmed the deaths in an interview with Leadership Media Group. “We condemn in totality the killing of three Christian youth along Damaturu-Biu Road Federal Highway,” Abako was quoted as saying.

The assailants targeted a vehicle on the Biu-Damaturu road in Yobe State, abducting the Christians and later executing three of them. The identities of the victims were later discovered on social media.

The attackers specifically targeted and abducted four passengers who were Christians, releasing the others, a relative said, according to Daily Post. This selective violence has reignited concerns about the safety of the Christian minority in the region.

Abako has called on government and security forces to intensify their efforts against insurgents. “This incident has been happening frequently. We call on the government, especially the military and police, to take proactive measures by protecting the citizens regardless of their religious background,” the Post quoted him as saying.

The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, or NULGE, in Nangere, Yobe State, protested the lack of action from state agencies.

Umar Inusa, chairman of NULGE Nangere LG Branch, criticized the government’s response to the security crisis. “The issue of autonomy and independence for the three arms of government has been an issue in Nigeria, and that has led to a lot of challenges,” he stated, linking ineffective governance to the deterioration in security, according to ACI Africa.

The incident adds to a series of attacks by ISWAP, which began as a faction split from Boko Haram in 2016. In January alone, ISWAP conducted eight attacks against Christian communities, resulting in 12 deaths and forcing others to flee their homes which were set ablaze, ICC said.

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