ISIS-aligned jihadists have released a video claiming to show the execution of 11 blindfolded Christian men in Nigeria, in what analysts say was a barbaric act that was clearly timed to coincide with Christmas, according to reports.
“This is a message to Christians all over the world,” a masked man says in the one-minute video posted online late Thursday by the terror group’s Amaq news agency.
He claimed the killings at the hands of jihadists from the Islamic State West African Province were in retaliation for the death of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman.
Baghdadi committed suicide in October during a US special forces operation in Syria.
No details were given about the victims, but ISIS said they were “captured in the past weeks” in Nigeria’s northeastern Borneo state, according to the BBC.
One captive was shot dead while the other 10 were beheaded.
In recent months, ISWAP has ramped up its attacks on Christians, security personnel and aide, setting up roadblocks on highways and conducting searches, according to Agence France-Presse.
The UN has condemned the “increasing practice by armed groups to set up checkpoints targeting civilians” in the northeast of Nigeria.
On Sunday, jihadists killed six people and abducted five others when they intercepted vehicles on a highway near Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
ISWAP, which pledged allegiance to Baghdadi in 2016 and split from insurgent group Boko Haram, stepped up attacks on military outposts and troops last year, but has increasingly begun targeting civilians.