In a tweet on January 21, journalist Ahmed Salkida broke the news that Reverend Lawan Andimi had been executed the day before by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.
Andimi had been forced into a vehicle Jan. 2 by men who had been terrorizing the town of Michika. He was the chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria and a member of Church of the Brethren (EYN) in Nigeria. Boko Haram has been very active in Nigeria this month and especially in Borno, where villagers have been fleeing in large numbers in order to avoid attack. The group targets Christians and other religious minorities in the country.
Salkida was able to break the news because the killers sent him a video of Andimi and an unidentified soldier being beheaded. In an earlier proof-of-life video, Andimi asked people to speak with the state governor and any officials who could help to secure his release. He specifically asked the president of EYN for help. He tried to be optimistic in the video about the likelihood of coming home safely, but added, “If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God.”
He ended his statement in the video by saying, “Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”
Salkida tweeted he was “battling” with this news, adding that to “break some news items can traumatize.” He writes, “Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”
On January 17 the terrorist group was able to disconnect areas in Born0’s state capital of Maiduguri from the electrical grid.
Meanwhile, At least 17 soldiers have been killed in the region recently, and an unknown number of people have been kidnapped.
Nigeria is already one of the world’s premier danger zones for Christians. The day after Christmas, ten members of a Catholic bridal party were beheaded and another was shot dead in retaliation for the death of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by U.S. forces in Syria in October.
Earlier this month, four Catholic seminarians were kidnapped in Kaduna, also in northern Nigeria. Armed intruders broke through the fence surrounding the living quarters of the seminarians and forced their way into the student hostel, shooting sporadically. One of the seminarians, who was seriously ill before being taken, was released Jan. 19, after his condition worsened.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) issued a statement mourning the murder of Andimi and urging the government both of Nigeria and the United Kingdom to work “for a comprehensive and effective solution” to the threat that Boko Haram and “the multiplicity of armed non-state actors” represent to the citizens of Nigeria.
Follow Shannon Levitt on Twitter: @ShannonLevitt6
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