Eleven hostages were killed by Islamic State terrorists in Northeast Nigeria on Christmas Day, it has been reported.
The 11 were among 13 hostages taken in November 2019 by the West African arm of the terrorist group which claimed leadership of Boko Haram three years ago.
The 13 had appeared in a video about a week to Christmas appealing to Nigerian officials for intervention on their release.
ISWAP was said to have opened negotiations for the swap of the hostages with their arrested fighters.
The failure of the Nigerian government to comply with the group’s terms is assumed to have led to the execution.
The group however claimed to have carried out the execution of its “leaders”, including Abu bakr al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir in Iraq and Syria.
All 11 were said to be Christians.
The group according to reports spared two Muslims but Ahmed Salkida, an investigative journalist believe to have links in ISWAP reports that more than two Muslims were among the 13 hostages.
He had earlier given the names of the hostages to include Mr. Bashir Abdulhamid with the Primary Health Care Department of Kanam LGA in Plateau state.
Others are Mukhtar Adam, a Non-Academic Staff with the Bursary department, Federal University of Wukari in Taraba state and hails from Borno state, David Charles from Borno State, Unah Audu from Borno state, Suwaiba Kashimu (the only female) from Nasarawa state.
Among them also were Yahaya Tanwua from Adamawa state, Kirenubi Bakari from Adamawa state, Solomon Sini from Adamawa state, Irimiya Ndawa from Adamawa state, Zira Usman from Adamawa state, Sunday Okoye from Anambra state, Bitrus Zakka Bwala, a lecturer with College of Education, and Gashua Yobe state, who is from Borno state.
Suwaiba Kashimu, and one other unnamed male, Salkida reports were not among the executed hostages.
It is unclear whether Bashir from Plateau State was spared but the “remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers” have given Islam “a bad name through their atrocities,” says President Muhammad Buhari.
“I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages.
“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world,” Buhari said in a social media broadcast on Friday.
According to him, “No true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing innocent people, an evil frequently condemned by the Holy Qur’an.”
“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and therefore, we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.
“The goal of these psychopaths is to cause confusion and spread distrust between Muslims and Christians, despite the fact that they aren’t representing the interest of Muslims or Islam.
“While I condemn this evil, I wish to reassure Nigerians that this administration will not lower its guards in the war against terrorism, and we will continue to intensify our efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers.
“I call on all Nigerians to stand united against terrorism and to avoid unhelpful conspiracy theories that serve the interest of Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP,” said the President.
United Nation Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also offered his condolences, with his spoken Stephane Dujarric saying in a statement: ‘The Secretary General is deeply concerned about reports that civilians have been executed, and others abducted, by armed group in northern Borno State, northeastern Nigeria.
‘He expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and reiterates the solidarity of the united Nations with the people and Government of Nigeria.’