As billions of people celebrated Christmas across the globe on Wednesday, an Islamic State group in Nigeria slaughtered Christians and Muslims. The terrorists claimed they committed the murders to avenge the deaths of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS leader Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir.
The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) released a video taking responsibility for the murders of 13 hostages, ten believed to be Christian and three believed to be Muslim, the Daily Mail reported. ISWAP killed the hostages in Nigeria, and the terror group claimed to have spared the lives of two Muslims.
The hostages had pleaded with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to negotiate for their release in another video released earlier.
“We killed them as a revenge for the killings of our leaders, including Abu bakr al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir in Iraq and Syria,” ISWAP said in a statement.
ISWAP and its fellow jihadist group Boko Haram have stepped up attacks in Nigeria recently. Boko Haram killed seven people on Christmas Eve in a raid on a Christian village near the town of Chibok, the scene of the mass kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014. Fifty-seven of the girls escaped, while another 107 have been rescued or released. Another 112 remain in captivity.
Also on Christmas Eve, dozens of fighters driving trucks and motorcycles stormed into Kwarangulum, shooting residents and burning homes after stealing food.
“They killed seven people and abducted a teenage girl in the attack,” local man David Bitrus said. “They took away food stuff and burnt many houses before leaving.” He also noted that the jihadists burned a church.
The decade-long war with jihadist radicals has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria, according to the United Nations. The violence has spread to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, sparking a regional military coalition to fight the terrorists.
Last year, a former boy soldier who has become an Anglican bishop on the front lines of the war against jihadists told PJ Media, “Islam in Nigeria is the most serious problem we have today. The problem is systematic.” He noted that many Muslim reformers vehemently oppose jihadist terror and the Islamist ideology behind it, but the threat from radical Islamic terror is very real.
President Donald Trump has taken a stronger stance against jihadist terror than Barack Obama did. After Baghdadi’s death earlier this year, Trump continued to target ISIS leaders. He has celebrated the end of the caliphate, but the Islamic State threat is far from over.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.