Christian bride-to-be killed on the way to her wedding by suspected Islamists

Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag seized while retaking the town of Damask, Nigeria, March 18, 2015(Photo: Reuters)

A bride-to-be and her entire bridal party were killed the day after Christmas while en route to her wedding in Nigeria, a Catholic spokesperson has said. 

Fr Francis Arinse, a diocesan communications director in the Catholic Church in Nigeria, said that Martha Bulus and her bridal party were murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents. 

He told the Catholic News Service that the horrific attack occurred in Gwoza, Borno State, in north-eastern Nigeria, on December 26. 

The tragedy occurred just days before her wedding had been due to take place on December 31. 

Fr Arinse said that Bulus has been a member of his church, St Augustine in Maiduguri, when he was first ordained to the priesthood. 

"They were beheaded by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on their way to her country home," Arinse told CNS.

News of the attack follows the brutal execution of 11 Christian aid workers by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), a splinter group of Boko Haram.  Ten of the men were beheaded, while one was shot dead.

The group said that the attack, also on December 26, was revenge for the killings of IS leader Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman in two separate US military operations last year. 

The timing appeared to be strategic, coinciding with Christmas celebrations. 

In a video of the executions released by ISWAP, the group said the killings were a message to Christians. 

"This message is to the Christians in the world," the voiceover to the video said. 

"Those who you see in front of us are Christians, and we will shed their blood as revenge for the two dignified sheikhs, the caliph of the Muslims, and the spokesman for the Islamic State, Sheikh Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, may Allah accept them."