The terrorist group Daesh announced that it had killed 11 Christians in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State one day after Christmas as an act of revenge for the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Footage of the executions, which was published by Amaq, a propaganda outlet linked to Daesh, shows 11 blindfolded men being lined up in an outdoor location.
“This is a message to Christians all over the world,” a masked man is heard saying in the video. One of the blindfolded captives in the video is shot, while the rest are beheaded. The victims are believed to have been captured by Daesh in recent weeks.
The masked man also says that the killings are a form of retribution for the death of Baghdadi, who died in Syria’s Idlib on October 26 after he detonated a suicide vest following a chase by an American K-9 unit.
In a recent statement obtained by BBC, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the murders but did not release any information on the victims’ identities.
“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims, because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world,” Buhari said.
According to reports, attacks on Christian Nigerians by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also known as Boko Haram, have increased over the last few months. On Christmas Eve, Boko Haram jihadists killed seven Christian people near the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria after raiding the Christian village.
According to the Christian organization Open Doors, many Christians in Nigeria are treated as second-class citizens who suffer from violence inflicted by militant Islamic groups.
“Corruption has weakened the state, making it ill-equipped to protect Christians from the violence perpetrated by groups like Boko Haram. Sometimes, churches are used as vehicles for money-laundering,” the organization explains.