By STAFF WRITER APRIL 19, 2015
The Ethiopian government is yet to confirm the authenticity of a new video released online that purportedly shows the killings of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Libya.
“It’s being widely reported that ISIS purportedly shot, killed and beheaded Ethiopians. The Ethiopian government is doing its level best to confirm whether the victims were Ethiopians,” said Redwan Hussien, spokesman for the Ethiopian government.
According to reports, the footage shows one group of about 12 men being beheaded by militants on a beach and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area.
Before the killings, a masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran.
The video is said to be similar to the Egyptian Christians beheadings two months ago on a beach. But in the latest video, a text on the screen identifies the men as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”.
“The government and we all Ethiopians condemn in strongest terms such a heinous act committed against humanity, whether they were Ethiopians or not,” said Hussien. “[This] will on no account make us flinch from our continuous fight against extremism and terrorism.”
It was only three days ago the U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, talked to Ethiopian officials in Addis Ababa on how to mitigate terrorist threats in the region, including ISIL. Yet it is not clear if the Ethiopian government would now be more pressed to send its troops against the Islamic extremists after these latest killings.
The spokesman said his government wants its citizens to avoid traveling in routes that would lead to areas where ISIL and it’s affiliates are present.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) or simply Islamic State, is an Islamic extremist organization that seeks the establishment of a transnational Islamic caliphate. It is believed, the group controls territory in Iraq and Syria, Libya, Nigeria, with operations or affiliates in Lebanon, Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East, North and West Africa, South, and Southeast Asia.