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19 May 2022

Islamic militants release video showing execution of 20 Nigerian Christians

In an alarming reminder of the dangers facing our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, a video by Islamic militants appears to show the execution of 20 Nigerian Christian men. The footage includes threats to believers across the world. Please continue to pray for an end to extremist violence in Nigeria and across West Africa. 

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A video has been published by Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) showing the execution of 20 Nigerian men, believed to be Christians, as a warning to ‘Christians around the world’.

The video – which was released on 10 May via the group’s Amaq news channel – shows members of ISWAP (a splinter group of Boko Haram) with three groups of captives who are said to come from Borno State in north east Nigeria. 

According to the BBC, the execution of two of the groups are accompanied by threatening messages towards Christians globally, with the killings serving as ‘revenge’ for the deaths of so-called Islamic State's former leader, Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurayshi, who was killed in Syria in February, and a former spokesman. The third group was killed instantly without any message.

"There are no words to describe the horror and heartbreak that the families of these men must be going through" Jo Newhouse

“There are no words to describe the horror and heartbreak that the families of these men must be going through,” said Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“However, while ISWAP intends to sow fear with these videos, Christians around the world should be in awe of the testimony of these men who, to the best of our knowledge, held on to their faith even in the face of execution.”

Rising attacks against Christians in Nigeria 

“In recent months, IS has notably stepped up its attacks on Christians and their villages and places of worship in Borno,” the BBC said. “The group targets Christians in the country and elsewhere based on a conspiracy that they are colluding with world powers to subjugate Muslims.”

“The spreading influence of violent jihadist groups in Nigeria is a grave concern,” said Newhouse. “Entire communities have been traumatised and uprooted and this video is a call for decisive action by the regional governments and the international community to address the multiple factors that create fertile ground for further radicalisation that allows these groups to flourish.”

In April, at least 20 people were killed or injured in an attack by the group on a market in Iware, a town in Nigeria’s eastern Taraba state. In a statement posted on messaging app Telegram, the group said ‘soldiers of the caliphate in central Nigeria’ had attacked ‘a gathering of infidel Christians’.

Nigeria is number seven on the World Watch List. More Christians are killed in the country than anywhere else in the world combined. If the list were based purely on violence against believers, Nigeria would be number one. Please continue to keep our Nigerian family in your prayers.  

Please pray
  • That family and friends of those killed will be surrounded by God’s comfort
  • For the protection of Christians in Nigeria, and ask God to give them the strength and peace to stand strong in their faith
  • That the Nigerian government will be stirred and equipped to decisively deal with the growing threat of violent groups in the country. 
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