A faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria that is allied with the Islamic State has released a video in which a Christian priest says he will be killed if the ransom is not paid by Wednesday, pleading with the government and the Christian Association of Nigeria for help. .
“I call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Borno to help me, because I received a one-week ultimatum today, February 24th,” said Pastor Paulos Ikura of the Church of the Brothers in Nigeria, who was kidnapped last Christmas Eve during an attack on the village of Bemi in the local government area of Chibok state. Borno.
The video was acquired by African news outlet HumAngle, who reports that the priest previously appeared in two other videos – one from December and one in January – in which he also appealed to the Nigerian government for help.
“If you want me to live, I beg you as president, mayor, and head of our local government to save me from this suffering,” said the priest kneeling, with a masked man holding a knife standing behind him, in the Hausa language.
According to Morning Star News, a non-profit news outlet dedicated to covering Christian persecution around the world, the video was released by the Boko Haram faction that is allied with the Islamic State and bears the name Islamic State in West Africa.
“Please pray for me. Today is the last day I will have the opportunity to invite you as my parents and relatives in the country.” Anyone with intentions should help me and save me. Please free me from this pain. ”
“He has no way to free myself except through your help,” said Yikura, who addressed his statement to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, according to the Abuja-based Premium Times online newspaper.
“This is the last opportunity I had to ask for help. I was quoted as saying after today, I have no chance again to cry for help.” I put all my hope. Thank you.”
A previous video clip obtained by Morning Star News on January 31 showed the logo of the Islamic State and was allegedly released by ISWAP.
In this video, Pastor Yicora appealed to the church and other Christian leaders, along with government officials, to secure his release. He did not specify his church affiliation at that time.
The US-based International Persecution Concern International urged prayers for the Nigerian priest. In the December 24 attack in which the priest was kidnapped, 11 were said to have been killed in addition to the destruction of homes.
In a statement issued by the organizations: “Please pray … that the Lord may console him and set him free from his captors.” Please pray for the bereaved families of the murdered and kidnapped, and for the government to gain wisdom in saving the believers in captivity. Please also pray for the world to realize the extent of the suffering that believers have to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the Church, so that all may repent and find salvation in Christ. ”
Last January, Boko Haram executed Pastor Lawan Andimi, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Michica Local Government Area, Adamawa state, because the ransom demanded by the terrorist group did not pay and the Christian leader refused. They deny Christ.
Andimi made headlines because he paid tribute to Jesus in the ransom video released by his kidnappers.
“Thank God, I will be with my wife, children and all of my colleagues,” he said in the video. “If the opportunity is not given, it may be God’s will.”
After his death, the Nigerian Christian Association demanded answers from the Nigerian government and called for fasting and prayer for three days.
Nigeria is ranked ninth among the worst countries in the world when it comes to Christian persecution in Open Doors USA’s 2021 Global Watch List.
The Nigerian civil society group, the International Community for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law estimated in January that hundreds of Christians were likely killed by Boko Haram extremists in 2020.
In December 2019, the Islamic State in West Africa released a video claiming to show extremists executing 11 Christians in revenge for the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
“This message is for Christians in the world,” said a man speaking on the video in Arabic and Hausa, according to the Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group. Whoever you see in front of us as Christians, and we will shed their blood in revenge against the two noble sheikhs, Caliph of Muslims, and the spokesman for the Islamic State, Sheikh Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir, may God have mercy on him. May God accept them.
In December 2020, the US State Department listed Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” for tolerating or engaging in serious violations of religious freedom.