Boko Haram executes Christian pastor held captive

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Boko Haram has announced that it has killed Pastor Lawan Andimi, a leading Church figure, kidnapped in north-east Nigeria by the Islamist terrorist group on 2 January.

A video announcing the pastor’s execution, which took place on 20 January, was released today by Boko Haram via its regular journalist contact, Ahmad Salkida. It is not known how Pastor Andimi, who leaves behind a wife and seven children, was killed.

In his final message to his family and colleagues, Pastor Lawan Andimi urged them not to cry or worry about him but to “thank God for everything”

Pastor Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was abducted in Adamawa State during a series of Boko Haram attacks in the region.

In a video released by his captors on 5 January, the pastor had called on senior CAN colleagues to ask the State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, to intercede for his release. It is thought that the church was involved in negotiations with the captors when Pastor Andimi was killed.

In his poignant statement, Pastor Andimi had told his family and colleagues not to cry or worry about him but to “thank God for everything”.

“I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hands of God. By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, my children and my colleagues. If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God,” he said.

A regional analyst in contact with Barnabas has warned that there are indications that Boko Haram is extending its territory in north-east Nigeria. At least four murderous Islamist attacks have taken place in the region in less than a month, including the beheading of ten Christian men and shooting of an eleventh by Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). The past year has also seen a significant increase in Boko Haram activity in neighbouring Far North Cameroon. The expert raised concerns that the group may be progressively combining forces with other terrorist militia including ISWAP, Fulani herdsmen and Al Shabaab.