Friday 28 October 2016

IS video shows 'Libya killings'

Published 19/04/2015 | 12:01

The 29-minute film apparently shows two groups of captives in eastern and southern Libya
The 29-minute film apparently shows two groups of captives in eastern and southern Libya

A video released by the Islamic State group appears to show the killing of two groups of captured Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

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The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan's president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in the country that killed at least 35 people - and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

It also mirrored a video released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group's suspected positions in Libya.

Ethiopia has long drawn the anger of Islamic extremists over its military's attacks on neighbouring Somalia, whose population is almost entirely Muslim. While the militant in the video at one point said "Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap," it did not specifically mention the Ethiopian government's actions.

The video, released via militant social media accounts and websites, could not be independently verified. However, it corresponded to other videos released by the Islamic State group and bore the symbol of its al-Furqan media arm.

The video starts with what it called a history of Christian-Muslim relations, followed by scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons. A masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Koran.

It shows one group of captives, identified as Ethiopian Christians, purportedly held by an Islamic State affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barqa Province.

It also shows another purportedly held by an affiliate in the southern Libyan calling itself the Fazzan Province. The video then switches between footage of the captives in the south being shot dead and the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach. It was not immediately possible to estimate how many captives were killed.

In Ethiopia, government spokesman Redwan Hussein said officials were in contact with its embassy in Cairo to verify the video's authenticity.

He said he believed those killed were likely to be Ethiopian migrants hoping to reach Europe.

"If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe though the dangerous route," Mr Hussein said.

Abba Kaletsidk Mulugeta, an official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church's Patriarchate Office, said he also believed the victims were probably migrants.

"I believe this is just another case of the IS group killing Christians in the name of Islam. Our fellow citizens have just been killed on a faith-based violence that is totally unacceptable. This is outrageous," Mr Mulugeta said. "No religion orders the killing of other people, even people from another religion."

Ethiopia's options to retaliate remain slim, given its distance from Libya. However, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed Edrees said his country could partner with Cairo to strike the militants.

"That could be an option," Mr Edrees. "We will see and explore what is possible to deal with group."

Press Association

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