By; AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) has released a video in which it purportedly executed eleven blindfolded Christian captives. The video was released on Thursday, 26th December, 2019. The terrorists claimed that the action was in revenge of the killing of ISIS leader, Abubakr Al-Baghdadi and its spokesman, Abul-Hassan Al-Muhaiir.
The Nigerian Islamic human rights organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has however condemned the execution. The group spoke through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a press statement issued late on Friday, 27th December, 2019.
“We strongly condemn the execution of the Christian captives by ISWA. It is gruesome, coldblooded and barbaric. We reject the criminal antics of terrorists. This is definitely not Islam. It is the handiwork of misguided elements.
“We have no doubt that it is part of an attempt to embarrass the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) after the latter had successfully prevented any attack in other parts of Northern and central Nigeria, including Abuja, before during and after Christmas and the New Year for the past three or four years. We also note with pleasure that bomb attacks on churches have stopped completely while incidents of suicide bombing has been reduced to its barest minimum. We commend FG for this remarkable feat.
“Observers may wish to note that 135 innocent lives were lost in another terrorist attack in Burkino Fasso on Christmas day. We equally condemn the massacre in Burkino Fasso. It is callous, inhuman and despicable.
“Our hypothesis is that the terrorists may have intended to effect a double hit in Burkina Fasso and here in Nigeria. The Nigerian operation may have been called off after the planners saw the alertness and gallantry of the Nigerian security agencies. The execution of the Christian captives point to an act of frustration after the planned attack on Nigerian soil became mission impossible.
“It is noteworthy that there was no ultimatum or warning of any kind prior to the execution. This is quite unusual and this fact cements our hypothesis. The enemy may want to catch us off guard by striking during the New Year celebrations. We therefore call on the security agencies to be on alert during the end of the year and New Year celebrations to avert any planned attack. We also appeal to Nigerians generally to be security conscious. Security watch must not be left to those in uniform alone. We must be our nation’s eyes and ears.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to understand the mentality of terrorists and the anatomy of extremism. They (the terrorists) wish to create fear in our hearts so that nobody will confront them. But they have failed in this regard because the government has risen to the occasion and our gallant soldiers are giving the terrorists sleepless nights. They also intend to cause war between Nigerian Christians and their Muslim neighbours. In fact this is the primary objective. The ultimate aim is to enable them to sneak in behind the lines, seize the seat of power and begin a reign of terror in the whole country whereby both Christians and moderate Muslims will, willy-nilly, be at their beck and call.
“We therefore call upon our Christian neighbours to understand the humongous challenge which terrorism poses. The government needs the cooperation of all to overcome these challenges. We charge Imams and pastors to use the minbar and pulpit to preach patience and tolerance all the time. The Nigerian society is passing through a trying period. Religion in particular has been bastardised beyond Karl Max’s legendary opium. Religion has become another thing entirely in Nigeria. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a deradicalisation programme both in the churches and mosques.
“In summary, we strongly condemn the execution of Christian captives in Nigeria and the killing of 135 people in Burkina Fasso explossions. We appeal to religious leaders to forge a united front in the deradicalisation of religion in Nigeria. We appeal to Nigerians to be vigilant and to report suspicious persons and circumstances to the security agents. We also call on Nigerians to exhibit more tolerance, patience and love towards one another.”