Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the extremists showed on Sunday. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group’s atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan’s president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people — and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
In Ethiopia, government spokesman Redwan Hussein said officials were in contact with its embassy in Cairo to verify the video’s authenticity. Hussein said he believed those killed likely were Ethiopian migrants hoping to reach Europe. Libya has become a hub for migrants across Africa hoping to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe for work and better lives.
“If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe though the dangerous route,” Hussein said.
Abba Kaletsidk Mulugeta, an official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church’s Patriarchate Office, told the AP he also believed the victims likely were migrants.
Ethiopia’s options to retaliate remain slim, given its distance from Libya. However, Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohammed Edrees said his country could partner with Addis Ababa to strike the militants.
Report compiled with information from the Associated Press.