Islamic Militants Murder Two Dozen Nigerian Christians over Christmas

Nigerian pilgrims wait outside the Tomb of Jesus during their visit at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on February 25, 2016. / AFP / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

Militant jihadists killed at least 24 people, abducted 20 more, and torched a church in two Christmas Eve attacks in northeast Nigeria, the Barnabas Fund reported Tuesday.

Islamists believed to belong to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an off-shoot of Boko Haram, kidnapped at least 20 Christians on Christmas Eve in Garkida, Adamawa State. The raiders chose five of their prisoners to be lined up and shot in cold blood in a terror attack the jihadists referred to as a “Christmas present” in a video of the event.

In their assault, the jihadists also torched homes, shops, cars, and bulldozers, sending the Garkida villagers fleeing. Some of those who fled are still missing.

One eyewitness said that the militants entered the town with about five vehicles and began shooting sporadically, and then proceeded to loot and ravage houses and pharmaceutical stores.

The attack was just the latest in a string of violent assaults in the country by Islamic terrorists.

Last February, the town of Garkida was targeted for a similar jihadist attack when Boko Haram militants arrived with 9 truckloads of men and more than 50 motorcycles and started shooting sporadically. Garkida is the birthplace of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), which was founded in 1923.

Also on Christmas Eve, a band of armed Boko Haram Islamists stormed the mostly Christian village of Pemi, near Chibok, in Borno State, on trucks and motorcycles. The militants opened fire on villagers, killing eleven, and set buildings ablaze, including a church.

The terrorists also stole food supplies that were meant to be distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas and looted medical supplies from a hospital before setting it ablaze.

The militants, who reportedly came from the ISWAP base in the nearby Sambisa forest, also killed at least eight soldiers stationed at outposts in the region on the same night.

State officials had warned of a heightened risk of terror attacks during the Christmas period.

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