[ACNS, by staff writer] A Nigerian terror group linked to both Daesh – the so-called “Islamic State” – and Boko Haram has released a video purportedly showing the massacre of 11 men on Christmas Day. Local media organisations have identified the dead as nine Christians and two Muslims, and say that they were among a group of 13 hostages featured in a video released earlier in December by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). A subsequent video reportedly shows the same hostages, this time wearing orange jumpsuits and hoods over their heads, being decapitated and shot.
The murders remain unverified and details of the attack are sketchy and contradictory.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that the murders had been “much ignored over Christmas.” He added: “with deep sorrow let us pray for them and those close to them, and for God’s judgement on their killers. They are martyrs to Christ.”
The incident was condemned by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who said: “Violent attacks on innocent human beings in the name of any religion cannot be accepted, and should not be accepted by any religion.”
He added: “In the strongest possible terms, we denounce these attempts to divide the Nigerian people by turning Christians against Muslims. We must promote respect for human dignity in all circumstances, as well as for respect and diversity, to counter the hate and intolerance that are behind such acts of extreme violence.”
The attack is part of a wave of violence sweeping Nigeria. A Roman Catholic spokesman in the country said that suspected Boko Haram insurgents murdered a bride-to-be – Martha Bulus – and all the members of her bridal party on 26 December. Father Francis Arinse told the Catholic News Service that they were beheaded while travelling to Gwoza for the wedding which was to have been held on 31 December.