Is Boko Haram copying the Islamic State?

By October 9, 2019

Nigeria (MNN) — Terrorist violence is reaching new heights in Nigeria. Armed militants, presumably Boko Haram, attacked a village in Chibok territory a few days ago. It’s a reminder to community members of the 2014 Chibok school girls’ abduction; 112 girls remain in terrorists’ hands today.

Boko Haram also released a video of two Christian aid workers they kidnapped and executed in recent weeks. In the video, extremists vow to “kill every Christian they capture.” Voice of the Martyrs Canada spokesman Greg Musselman says the Islamic State used similar tactics in Iraq and Syria.

“Boko Haram [is] copying what ISIS has done when they release these very graphic images. It’s to cause fear, and [the] reality [is] it does cause fear.”

Learn how VOM Canada helps persecuted believers in Nigeria.

Boko Haram: terrorist copycats?

(Screenshot courtesy of Morningstar News)

Nigerian believers Godfrey Ali Shikagham and Lawrence Duna Dacighir were helping people displaced by Islamic extremist violence when Boko Haram kidnapped them, Morningstar News reports. Before shooting Lawrence and Godfrey, the middle terrorist announced his intent to avenge Muslims killed in past conflicts by murdering every Christian he and his group captures.

It’s not immediately clear when or where this execution took place, but it’s not the only one. On September 25, Action Against Hunger confirmed one of its aid workers was murdered by an “armed group.” This worker was one of six personnel kidnapped in July and held hostage.

“We just pray that fear will not grip our brothers and sisters in Christ because of these images,” Musselman says.

“That’s exactly what Boko Haram ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab – all these militant Islamic groups – are trying to do is put fear into the hearts and minds of Christians.”

(Video screenshot courtesy of AINA)

Islamic State affiliates captured global attention in February 2015 when they released a video showing their brutal execution of 21 Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits on a Libyan beach. Believers reported mass ISIS executions in Syria a month later.

Read MNN’s coverage of the ISIS crisis.

The videos are not the only similarities between ISIS tactics in the Middle East and Boko Haram activity in Nigeria. More about that here.  Other parallels include frequent kidnappings, targeted attacks on religious minorities, threats of religious war, and expansion into neighboring nations.

How to help

This latest incident raises concern for VOM Canada’s partners and other aid workers helping people in northern Nigeria. “These two fellows, Godfrey and Lawrence, they were helping the Christians and the people of Maiduguri, which is in Borno state. It’s an area where the Voice of the Martyrs and our partners have been working for a long time,” Musselman says.

“It causes us to pause and to remember that this is a very dangerous work… we really need to be praying for those that we work with.”

Pray terrorists will encounter the Gospel and be transformed by Christ. Ask the Lord to protect His followers as they risk their lives to help people in need, Musselman requests.

“Pray for them, that in the middle of a spiritual war zone and a physical war zone… that they would continue to talk about Jesus and proclaim the Gospel because, really, that’s the only hope.”

Send tangible help to persecuted believers in Nigeria through VOM Canada.



Header image courtesy of Think Defence via Flickr

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