The Islamic State released a video on their official media site purporting to show up to 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya being brutally executed.
Last month, IS released another video showing the execution of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt. The victims in both cases appear to be migrant workers captured by Islamic State for the express purpose of executing them in a very public, very horrific way.
Initial reports did not make clear who the captives were or when they were captured.
The video bore the official logo of the IS media arm Al-Furqan and resembled previous footage released by the extremist group.
Redwan Hussein, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said officials were in contact with its embassy in Cairo to verify the video’s authenticity.
He said he believed those killed were likely to have been Ethiopian migrants hoping to reach Europe. Libya has become a hub for migrants across Africa hoping to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe for work and better lives.
‘If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe though the dangerous route,’ Mr Hussein said.
He added that Ethiopia, which does not have an embassy in Libya, would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave. Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment.
Abba Kaletsidk Mulugeta, an official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church’s Patriarchate Office, said he also believed the victims were likely to have been migrants.
‘I believe this is just another case of the IS group killing Christians in the name of Islam. Our fellow citizens have just been killed on a faith-based violence that is totally unacceptable. This is outrageous,’ he said.
‘No religion orders the killing of other people, even people from another religion.’
Ethiopia’s options to retaliate remain slim, given its distance from Libya.
However, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed Edrees said his country could partner with Cairo to strike the militants.
‘That could be an option,’ Mr Edrees said. ‘We will see and explore what is possible to deal with group.’
Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate for the Middle East Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: ‘The Islamic State in Libya is still focused on this consolidation phase of announcing its presence through these very high-profile executions. But they face some structural limits in terms of how much local support they can get because they haven’t captured real revenue streams.’
Islamic State has a lot of competition in Libya from other wacko extremists. You have to figure that the pool of twisted fanatics has to be limited, so their executions aims to maximize their efforts. It is important to keep the pressure on them in Iraq and Syria so they can’t send reinforcements to Libya where it would be possible for them to carve out a section of that failed state for their own.
Here’s a link to the very graphic, entire 29 minute video. I debated posting it on the site but I think people would be right to criticize us for posting murder porn. We can be outraged without having images of human beings at the last instant of life having their heads cut off.