Five Christians executed by Islamists

Screenshot of video released by Islamic State showing execution of Christians in northeast Nigeria.(Photo: Morning Star News)

Islamist militants executed five Christians in Nigeria over the Christmas period, Release International reports.

Terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram, has claimed responsibility for the killings.

They released a video saying the deaths were a "warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria".

The five executed Christians are understood to have been among 11 people kidnapped on Christmas Day from Garkida town, Adamawa State, in north-east Nigeria. 

Their deaths were filmed, with footage showing them kneeling with their hands tied behind them before they were shot dead. 

The victims were all men and were asked to state their names before they were killed. 

The men gave their names as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf, but also said as their last words "I am a Christian", Morning Star News reports.

The killings echo a similar execution of 11 Christian aid workers in Nigeria on Christmas Day 2019. 

In this year's attack on Garkida town, the militants also set fire to churches, homes and a hospital, and looted shops and houses.

"This latest deplorable murder of Christians – just for being Christians – strengthens Release International's growing concern for Nigeria," said Release International CEO Paul Robinson.

"Boko Haram and ISWAP have both pledged to kill Christians. And heavily armed Fulani militants are driving Christian villagers from the north, in what appears to be an undeclared jihad. Release International's partners warn of a genocide in the making."

Release partner Hassan John criticised the Nigerian government for failing to stem the violence against Christians. 

"The government, by design or omission, is turning a blind eye to the carnage," he said. 

More on this topic: 

Christians in Nigeria 'expect to be attacked at Christmas'

Over 2,000 Christians killed in Nigeria this year - report

Genocide warning for Nigeria as Christians are 'driven out'