Isis has released a video that shows its militant fighters executing 11 Christians in Nigeria.
The militant group’s west African offshoot posted footage to Telegram on Boxing Day, showing men in uniforms and black masks beheading 10 blindfolded captives and shooting an eleventh prisoner.
The so-called Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap), a faction of Boko Haram, gave no details of the captives’ identities, but an earlier video said they had been taken from the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, where militants have been fighting for years to establish an Islamist state.
“We killed them as revenge for the killing of our leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and [Isis spokesman] Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir,” a member of the group’s media unit said, according to the journalist first sent the footage, Ahmad Salkida.
While some analysts suggested the killings had been timed to coincide with Christmas, Mr Salkida said the timing was more likely due to recent clashes in the area, following a spate of jihadist-driven skirmishes near the towns of Maiduguri and Damaturu.
The earlier video showed the all-male captives appealing for the Christian Association of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and save them, according to Reuters.
The footage was possibly an attempt to divide the country’s Muslim and Christian populations and pile pressure on the government to respond to militants’ demands, security analyst Kabiru Adamu told the BBC.
President Buhari said in a statement on Friday he was “profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities”.
“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 continued.
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