An offshoot of ISIS in West Africa released a video yesterday, the day after Christmas, that reportedly shows the terrorists shooting, stabbing, and beheading a group of 11 Christians in retaliation for the U.S. Armed Forces killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October.
“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 BBC reported. “It was released on 26 December and analysts say it was clearly timed to coincide with Christmas celebrations.”
One of the terrorists in the video reportedly said, “This is a message to Christians all over the world.”
Reuters reported that the video showed “men in beige uniforms and black masks lining up behind blindfolded captives then beheading 10 of them and shooting an 11th man.”
The group responsible for the attacks is known as ISWAP, which stands for the Islamic State’s West Africa Province.
“In recent months, ISWAP has intensified its attacks on Christians, security personnel and aid staff, setting up roadblocks on highways and conducting searches,” the AFP reported. “On Sunday, the jihadists killed six people and abducted five others including two aid workers when they intercepted vehicles on a highway on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.”
The Islamic terrorists’ quest to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has resulted in the deaths of 36,000 people and displaced millions of people over the last decade.
The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point reports how ISWAP was founded:
Since 2009, Boko Haram, under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, became infamous for its deadly insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin of West Africa and for its 2014 kidnapping of the 276 Chibok girls. In March 2015, Shekau pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State; five days later, Baghdadi recognized the pledge. Thus, at least on paper, Boko Haram — as the world had previously known it — ostensibly ceased to exist. In its place, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) was set up. This pledge provoked great concern within the international community — some called Boko Haram’s subsumption into the Islamic State a “marriage from hell” — a rightful worry in 2015, as the former Boko Haram group increased its violence, especially its suicide bombings, particularly those conducted by women and children.
By August 2016, tension in the relationship between ISWAP and Islamic State ‘Central’ became apparent, primarily due to the latter’s disdain for ISWAP’s (in their view) overly sweeping interpretation of takfir, or the justification to target and kill apostate Muslims. To rid ISWAP of Shekau, a shrewd but uncontrollable ideologue of whom it disapproved, the Islamic State announced in August 2016 that it had replaced Shekau with Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammad Yusuf. For his part, Shekau has rejected the notion that he has been replaced. Thus, today, ISWAP is led by Barnawi and operates primarily in the Lake Chad Basin region. Shekau, whose group operates alternatively under the international name of Boko Haram or the local name Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad but is also sometimes referred to as a second branch of ISWAP, operates near the Sambisa Forest further south.
At the beginning of the month, terrorists murdered 14 Christians at a church in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.
Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world today, as tens of thousands of Christians are murdered every year due to their faiths.