Ethiopians Riot over Video of ISIS Slaughtering Christians in Libya

AP Photo
AP Photo

“Ethiopian demonstrators hurled stones and scuffled with police during a rally by thousands in the capital on Wednesday after a video showed dozens of compatriots being shot and beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya,” according to eyewitnesses quoted by Reuters.

“The rally was to show solidarity with families of those killed. Scuffles erupted moments after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn spoke,” the report continues. “Witnesses saw several people being detained by police.”

The video in question was released by the Islamic State last Sunday. As described by the New York Timesit begins with “extensive speeches and interviews that appear to take place in the Islamic State’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq,” and some clips from a costume drama about medieval Muslims assaulting a castle, before continuing with the ritual execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Dozens of people are murdered in the video — some are shot in the back of the head, while others are decapitated with knives, their severed heads subsequently placed atop their bodies.

“You will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you accept Islam,” a masked thug warns in American-accented English at the end of the video, brandishing a pistol. “Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap.  To the nation of the cross: we are back again.” The murder victims are described as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church.”

To complete the insanity, the video also shows Christians purportedly living peacefully as serfs under Islamic State domination in Syria and Iraq, having paid the jizya tax to their Muslim overlords. There is even a scene meant to show Christians sitting down for lecture on the glories of Islam from a pair of ISIS thugs.

The Times describes this as potentially the first evidence that ISIS leaders in Syria and Iraq are actively coordinating with forces in Libya:

If more confirmation of its authenticity emerges, the video will upend both Western and Libyan views of the Islamic State’s presence in the country. Fighters in the three regions of Libya had previously claimed responsibility for various acts of violence carried out in the Islamic State’s name, but most analysts presumed that most of those fighters, at least the ones outside Surt, were operating independently and using the name to capitalize on the group’s fearsome reputation. Now fighters in all three provinces appear connected enough to the core group’s leadership that they were able to coordinate separate, mass executions, film them and send the video back to Syria or Iraq for production and release.

There have been some questions about the authenticity of the video, although the UK Daily Mail notes that it bears the official logo of the ISIS media operation and is filmed in the same style as their previous videos. It strongly resembles the infamous video of Egyptian Christians being murdered on a Libyan beach by masked terrorists from February. The Ethiopian government confirmed that the Christians killed in the video were its citizens on Monday.

Angry Ethiopians have been demanding revenge for the slaughter. “We have to fight. We have to head to Libya. It’s not far away and we will avenge the blood of our brothers,” said a mourner at the memorial ceremony in Addis Ababa, as quoted by International Business Times. “As one of the strong military states in east Africa, Ethiopia should take measures to stop these horrendous inhuman acts and they should be punished by our government.”