JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – 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,” according to a video posted on Wednesday (July 22).
Three of the men shot to death from behind on the 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, “Bisimilah [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 11:37 a.m. 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 traveling 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 Munguno 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 executed worked with Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency and a company called Rich International.
Through spokesman Garba Sheu, 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.”
“President Buhari also condoles with the State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee, whose staff have suffered this gruesome fate,” Sheu said. “He thanks them for their continued dedication and service to the victims of Boko Haram in Northeastern Nigeria.”
In January ISWAP executed Christian university student Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) who was kidnapped on Jan. 9 on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway while returning to studies in Maiduguri, Borno state.
ISWAP in 2016 broke off from the rebel terrorist group Boko Haram, which originated in Maiduguri.
On Jan. 20, Boko Haram terrorists executed the Rev. Lawan Andami, district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Michika County, Adamawa state, and father of eight children.
Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, expressed shock and horror at the killings, saying of the victims, “their safety and securing their safe release have been our highest priority since they were captured in June.”
“These checkpoints disrupt the delivery of life-saving assistance and heighten the risks for civilians of being abducted, killed or injured, with aid workers increasingly being singled out,” Kallon said. “I strongly condemn all violence targeting aid workers and the civilians they are assisting. I am also troubled by the number of illegal vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes.”
The U.N. has repeatedly called for an end to such blatant violations of international humanitarian law, he said.
“I implore all armed parties to step up their responsibilities and stop targeting aid workers and civilians,” Kallon said. “At a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels, it is unacceptable that those who are trying to help are being attacked and killed.”
On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.