Date: December 29, 2019
10 Christians and One Muslim Killed, Two Muslims Spared
Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Wednesday evening, December 25, the Boko Haram sect known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the execution of 10 Christians and one Muslim. In the video, the group explains that this execution was done in order to avenge the killings of ISIS leaders Abubakar al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir. Both of these terrorist leaders were killed in US military actions this year.
It is believed that these 11 captives, as well as two others, were shown in a previous video on December 17, during which they pleaded for their lives. They called out to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to help ransom them back from the terrorist group. Salkida.com was able to identify the 12 men and one woman who were in the proof of life video. The individuals include: Yahaya Tanwua, Kirenubi Bakari, Solomon Sini, Irimiya Ndawa, and Zira Usman from Adamawa State; Sunday Okoye from Anambra State; Bitrus Bwala, Mukhtar Adam, and David Charles from Borno State; Bashir Abdulhamid from Plateau State; and Suwaiba Kashimu (the only female) from Nasarawa State.
It is unclear which of these hostages were killed in the video. It was released, however, that the two who were not killed were spared because they were Muslim. Also, despite the group reportedly giving a timeframe for the Nigerian government to make negotiations for the release of these captives, no attempt was made by the government. The group said that they would be willing to make a trade for members of their group who were being held in government custody.
It came as a shock how quickly the execution of these individuals came after the initial proof of life video. In most cases, ISWAP has produced proof of life videos and given a deadline of at least one month for the government or others to negotiate. The time period in this case only lasted eight days. When asked about the video, an executive of CAN in Northern Nigeria, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “This is madness. This is the kind of happenings that keep widening the religious tolerance gap and building up tension. I am afraid that such continuous provocation could lead to reactions that may be difficult to control.”
ICC’s Nigeria representative added, “Whereas some key Muslim leaders [in Nigeria], including the Sultan of Sokoto, were recently quoted as saying that Christians are not being persecuted in Nigeria, this brutal, murderous act by ISWAP and Boko Haram has disproved their false statements. Rather than pursue genuine and positive steps toward curbing Islamic militancy in the country, they have continued to be hypocritical and live in blatant denial of the truth.”
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “This execution is deeply concerning. The Nigerian government had the chance to save these 11 lives and did not respond. This execution shows that this group has the capability to not only threaten lives, but the Nigerian government has no capability to protect them. They also clearly used Christmas Day as a way to show their hatred for Christians.”
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for peace for the families that lost loved ones. Pray for the release of any being held captive by ISWAP. Pray for an end to violent groups that are terrorizing Nigeria.