Ethiopian Christians shot, beheaded and filmed by Islamic State
Beirut (AsiaNews) - Groups who follow the Islamic State (IS) yesterday issued a video full of threats against Christians, showing the execution of about 28 men, presented as a "faithful" of the " enemy Ethiopian Church". The video, of professional quality, is very similar to that of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, released last February.
The short video purports to show militants holding two groups of captives, described in text captions as "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church". A masked fighter in black - the others are dressed in camoflauge- brandishing a pistol makes a statement threatening Christians if they do not convert to Islam.
The video then switches between footage of one group of about 12 men being beheaded by masked militants on a beach and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area.
The video also shows men presented as Christians from Syria, who say that the jihadists gave them the choice either to convert to Islam or pay the fee of protected (jizya).
This is the first time that IS has targeted Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa, the communications ministry has "strongly condemned such atrocities, whether it's Ethiopian or other." The government is trying to get confirmation on the nationalities of those killed.
Ethiopia is the second largest African country by population, with more than 90 million inhabitants, of which two thirds are Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts.
Many Ethiopians move abroad to work in menial jobs to support their families. Many have moved to Libya, where they found work, or are waiting to board a migrant ship to reach Europe.
Taking advantage of the chaos following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, several jihadist groups have taken possession of parts of Libyan territory and now swear allegiance to the IS. Meanwhile two rival governments are fighting in Libya, and different factions have taken possession of the area of Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli.
Just yesterday, U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon said after weeks of brokering talks between rival factions that they had reached a draft accord which is "very close to a final agreement".
Referring to the IS video and fighting in Libya, Leon said: "We know that the enemies of peace, the enemies of the agreement, will be active and be even more active in the coming days and weeks”.