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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Extremist group executes three Christians in Nigeria’s Borno State

This targeted abduction and execution emphasize the persistent threat faced by Christian minorities in the region.

On June 5, 2024, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an extremist faction, executed three Christian men in Nigeria’s Borno State. The victims were abducted from a commercial passenger vehicle on the Damaturu-Biu Highway, near Yobe State’s border with Borno State. Images shared by ISWAP’s propaganda outlet, Amaq News Agency, depicted the men kneeling with their arms tied behind their backs, moments before they were shot by masked gunmen.

Selective Violence Against Christians

Reports indicate that the extremists targeted Christian passengers specifically, allowing Muslim passengers to depart safely. A fourth Christian passenger was also abducted, but their condition remains unknown. This targeted abduction and execution emphasize the persistent threat faced by Christian minorities in the region. The Rev. Ibrahim Abako, secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Yobe State, condemned the killings and called for intensified efforts from the government and security forces to protect citizens regardless of their religious background.

Read More: Islamic police arrest 11 Muslims in Nigeria for not fasting

Increasing Violence and Government Response

This incident adds to a series of attacks by ISWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016. ISWAP has been responsible for numerous attacks against Christian communities, with 12 Christians killed and many homes burned in January alone. The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Nangere, Yobe State, criticized the government’s response to the security crisis, linking ineffective governance to the deterioration in security.

Calls for Proactive Measures

Christian leaders have repeatedly called for proactive measures from the government and security agencies. Rev. Abako emphasized the need for the military and police to protect all citizens, highlighting the frequency of such violent incidents. Dr. Khataza Gondwe of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) noted that ISWAP deliberately targets Christians, with some elements within the armed forces allegedly complicit in the ongoing violence.

Read More: Christian students and teachers abducted in Nigeria, kidnappers demand ransom

Nigeria remains the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 Christians killed for their faith between October 2022 and September 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List. The country also saw the highest number of kidnappings of Christians and ranked third for attacks on churches and other Christian buildings. The persistent violence against Christians in Nigeria highlights the urgent need for effective government intervention and sustained international attention.