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World News

3 Christian men executed by Islamists in Nigeria

by Donna Birrell

Islamic extremists in Nigeria have executed three Christian men.

The men were targeted and dragged off a bus in Borno state by members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an offshoot of the terror group Boko Haram.

A fourth Christian man was abducted from the vehicle and it's feared he has either been killed or taken into slavery.

Dr Khataza Gondwe who is Head of Advocacy for Africa and the Middle East for the charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), told Premier what happened:

“The three young men were travelling on the fifth of June, on a commercial bus in the northeast of Nigeria. The bus was intercepted at a roadblock set up by terrorists from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). They screened the passengers and found that four of them were Christians and took them off the bus.

“They then executed three of them in the bush, close to a village and the fourth one is still missing. We're not sure whether he has been taken for further propaganda purposes later or whether he has been taken as a slave because ISWAP takes men as slaves and forces them to do the heavy lifting at their camp, and then executes them when they become too weak or too old to continue. So we're waiting to hear about him.”

In January ISWAP killed 12 Christians during attacks on rural communities in the region.

Dr Gondwe says ISWAP deliberately targets Christians and the group split from Boko Haram because it “wasn't being careful enough in its attacks, and would bomb places without caring whether a Muslim was there or not".

"So their tactic is completely different," she said. "The only time they (ISWAP) will attack or kill Muslims, is if they feel they're working for humanitarian organisations, which they seem to have real issues with, or working for the government or members of the Security Services, or have been proved in some way to be against the organisation.

"So they have very specific rules within their brutality. But Christians are always a legitimate target.”

Dr Gondwe says it’s frustrating that after a decade of insurgency, there have been no real efforts to end the violence against Christians in Nigeria, adding that some elements within the armed forces are “complicit”.

She’s urging Christians to “pray without ceasing".

"When we were told to pray without ceasing, it was for such a time as this, because the situation in Nigeria in particular is really disturbing. And they need the prayers of the Saints.”


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