Five Christians have been executed by Islamic extremists after they were kidnapped on Christmas Eve.

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, attacked the town of Garkida on 24 December, looting properties, setting buildings on fire and abducting five men.

At least two more people, including a five-year-old, were killed during the attack.

A video posted on 30 December on the extremist group’s media channel reportedly identifies the five kidnapped men as Christians before showing their brutal execution.

“This video is a reminder of other videos that we have seen,” said Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ Senior Analyst for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Think of the beheading of the Coptic Christians by Islamic State on a Libyan beach in February 2015… it’s the same scenario.

“It is part of the communication strategy of Islamist groups, and Boko Haram is using the same strategy where also the timing is not coincidental. The Christmas period is important because of the media attention an attack will attract, and so Christians can expect to be targeted during this time.”

As community members now begin to return to their homes and mourn their loss with the threat of persecution still looming, please be praying over them.


  • Pray for healing, comfort and provision over those affected by extremist violence.
  • Pray the Nigerian church will withstand persecution, working to honour God in every situation.
  • Praise God for the courageous faith of the five men; that they clung to Jesus even in the face of death.


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