The Islamic State group in Nigeria, ISWAP, has released a video claiming to show the killing 11 Christians in Nigeria to “avenge” the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a US raid in Syria in October.
In the video released by the Islamic State West Africa Province, the Christian victims are seen pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to help negotiate their release, according to Ahmad Salkida, a conflict and terrorism reporter in Nigeria.
No details were given about the victims, who were all male, but IS says they were “captured in the past weeks” in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State.
The 56-second video was produced by the IS “news agency” Amaq. It was released on 26 December and analysts say it was clearly timed to coincide with Christmas celebrations.
The killing was filmed in an unidentified outdoor area. One captive in the middle was shot dead while the other 10 were pushed to the ground and beheaded.
Explaining the reasons for the execution, the terrorist group said: “We killed them as revenge for the killings of our leaders including Abubakar al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir in Iraq and Syria.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the apparent killings and urged Nigerians not to let themselves be divided along religious lines.
“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,” he said in a statement.