Islamic State fighters behead South Sudanese Christian in Libya

Islamic States Militants in Libya released a video on 18 October showing a masked militant dressed in black behead a Christian man from South Sudan.

The Christian South Sudanese man, Mohamed Al-Ghaid, is seen dressed in an orange jumpsuit. He briefly states his name and nationality to the camera before he is forced to kneel and beheaded.

His killer says the murder avenges “injustice” against Muslims in Christian-majority South Sudan, and threatens Christians across the country. “This is a message to our Muslim brothers in South Sudan who are suffering injustice, uprooting and slaughter at the hands of Christian aggressors,” he said.“We are conveying good news to you that Allah has deployed the soldiers of the caliphate to avenge for you and defend you. We will cut every hand that hurt you. O Christians in South Sudan know that as you kill you will be killed and as you displace our brothers we will do the same … No safety or shelter for you except that of Islamic State. We will fight all of you as you fight us.”

Muslims in South Sudan constitute a minority population. However, “There is no such an act in South Sudan, and no Muslim was persecuted in South Sudan,” said Muslim leader Sheikh Juma.

A catalogue of Islamic State brutality in Libya

Both the brutality and scale of the violence perpetrated against Christians intercepted in Libya is of grave concern. Many Christians from nearby countries have been living there as migrant workers, and others have been passing through the country attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya’s coastline, seeking safety on European shores.

In July, militants captured three Christian men, who came from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana, in the town of Noufliyah, an IS stronghold south-east of Sirte city. In June, 86 Eritrean Christians fleeing political oppression were among those stopped as they were travelling towards capital city Tripoli. Jihadists questioned all those stopped on their knowledge of the Quran and prayer habits before kidnapping the Christians and freeing the Muslims.

In April, IS released a video showing the murders of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya who refused to accept Islam or pay the humiliating jizya head tax. And in February, 21 Egyptian Christians were brutally beheaded on Libya’s coast.

Last December, masked gunmen went to the family home of an Egyptian Christian couple in Sirte. The husband and wife were both shot to death and their eldest daughter, Catherine (13), was abducted and found dead two days later, on Christmas day, in the Libyan desert outside the city.

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