It was revealed this week that Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram beheaded a six-year-old boy on June 1 because he was a Christian.
The attack occurred in Attagara, Gwoza district, Borno State – a predominately Christian community, according to Voice of the Martyrs.
Over 100 militants descended upon the village, slaughtering men, women, and children.
Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed Christians and Shiite Muslims across Borno and Yobe States in an increasingly deadly campaign to establish an extremist, Sunni Muslim reign.
The assault on Attagara occurred as Sunday church services were beginning, according to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). Boko Haram slashed the villagers with machetes, and fired upon them with assault weapons.
One villager, Sawaltha Wandala, was arriving at church for the second service when he saw children being massacred. One six-year-old boy had been slashed and thrown into a ditch, but he was alive. Wandala picked him up and was carrying him to a hospital in Cameroon, when he was stopped by five of the militants.
The men reportedly took the child from Wandala’s arms and beheaded him, then began beating the 55-year-old with tree branches. After striking him in the head with a rock, they left him for dead.
Two days later the militants returned, attacking Attagara and other villages in Gwoza. VOM reported that approximately 200 people were killed in the two-day assaults.
John Yakuba and his family survived the Attagara attacks and fled to Cameroon, but Yakuba returned to their home to retrieve their animals and some of their belongings. The family faced starvation at a refugee camp, and Yakuba hoped to sell the animals to support them.
Boko Haram members saw Yakuba entering his home, however, and captured him.
“We know you’re John,” they said to him, according to VOM. “You must convert to Islam or else you will die a painful death.”
When Yakuba refused to denounce Christ, they tied his arms and legs to a tree, and hacked his hands with a knife.
“Can you become a Muslim now?” the militants asked.
“You can kill my body, but not my soul,” Yakubu cried out.
The men continued to cut his feet and back with a machete and knife to torture him.
“We will show you,” they said.
Yakuba’s head was slashed, and an axe was driven into his knee, reaching the bone.
He lost consciousness and was left tied to the tree for three days before someone found him, after which he was taken to the hospital in a coma.
When Yakuba recovered sufficiently to be interviewed, he offered a message of peace to his attackers.
“I have forgiven the Islamic militants, because they did not know what they are doing,” he told VOM.
Boko Haram became internationally known after kidnapping over 270 children from an all-girls school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14. A second mass kidnapping occurred on May 4 in Warabe. Over 200 girls remain missing.