Nigeria: Five executed as ‘warning to Christians’, 11 Christian villagers murdered

Members of the ISWAP terror group in Nigeria

Islamic extremists have executed five Nigerian men in Borno state, with one executioner saying it was a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity,” in a video posted on Wednesday (July 22), reports Morning Star News

On Monday (July 20) in Kaduna state, Fulani Militants murdered 11 Christians in an attack on a village called Gora Gan, Rev Isaac Ango of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) told Persecution News. He said the attackers set fire to dozens of houses around 7pm.

These two crimes are among the latest in an ongoing wave of terror, especially in the northern and middle belt regions of Nigeria, which have prompted various high-profile groups to call for an international response to the crisis. Some have labelled these crimes as genocide directed against Nigerian Christians and agaimst others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants.

Three of the men shot to death from behind on Wednesday’s execution video were identified as Christians by a resident of Borno state, where the executions apparently took place.

In the 35-second video posted on YouTube by Eons Intelligence before it was removed, the three Christians kneel blindfolded by red cloth alongside two others believed to be Muslims while five men armed with AK-47 rifles stand behind them.

“This is a message to all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity,” one of the executioners says in the Hausa language, translated by Morning Star News. “We want you out there to understand that those of you being used to convert Muslims to Christianity are only being used for selfish purposes.

“And that is the reason whenever we capture you, they don’t care to rescue you or work towards securing your release from us; and this is because they don’t need you or value your lives. We therefore, call on you to return to Allah by becoming Muslims. We shall continue to block all routes [highways] you travel.

“If you don’t heed our warning, the fate of these five individuals will be your fate.”

The speaker then commands, “Bismillah [Go on],” and the five men are shot dead.

The Borno resident (name withheld for security reasons) identified three of those killed as Christians. He said Ishaku Yakubu, an aid worker from Chibok with Action Against Hunger, was a member of the Church of the Brethren (EYN); Luka Filibus, an aid worker from Monguno with the International Rescue Committee, was an EYN member; and Joseph Prince, a private security firm worker, was a member of the Redeemed Christian Church in Maiduguri.

In a previous video recorded on June 21, Prince and Filibus identified their captors as members of Khalifa, a term used by prior captives for a Boko Haram splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In the prior video, Prince says: “My name is Joseph Prince, and I’m a staff member of Halogen [a private security firm]. I was traveling from Maiduguri to Monguno on official duty on June 1, 2020, when I was captured by Khalifa soldiers at 11.37am. As of today, June 21, 2020 the date this video is being recorded, I’m still being held captive. I plead with my organization to please secure my release.”

In the prior video, Yakubu says: “My name is Ishaku Yakubu, and I work with Action Against Hunger. I was captured on June 8, 2020 while I was travelling from Monguno to Maiduguri. I plead for my organization, Action Against Hunger, to kindly secure my release.”

Filibus, the third Christian victim, in the prior video says: “My name is Luka Filibus, and I work with the International Rescue Committee in Monguno Local Government Area. I was captured by Khalifa soldiers on June 3, 2020 while I was on my way to Maiduguri. I plead with my organization, International Rescue Committee, to kindly secure my release.”

Action Against Hunger and the International Rescue Committee confirmed the deaths of their workers in press statements condemning the executions.

A statement from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari indicated that the other two men who were executed worked with Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency and a company called Rich International.

Through spokesman Garba Shehu, Buhari sent condolences to the families of those slain and said the government will do all it can to ensure that “every remaining vestige of Boko Haram is wiped out completely from northeastern Nigeria.”

Reporting to Persecution News on Monday’s Fulani attack in Kaduna state, Rev Ango said that seven other Christians were injured during the incident and are receiving treatment at General Hospital in Zonkwa. Many other people are missing. This recent attack has caused over 500 internally displaced people (IDPs) who are Christians seeking refuge at the Zonkwa Town Camp. Ezekiel James, a refugee camp staffer, told Morning Star News, “These internally displaced Christians are in dire need of food items, drugs, and facilities to treat those who are traumatized.” 

Muslim Fulani militants killed more than 50 Christians during attacks in the southern Kaduna state since the lead pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was murdered on June 12, 2020.

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