Jos — Nigerian youth have held a vigil for a student killed last month by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province, a breakaway Boko Haram group. The militants released a video showing the gruesome execution of 22-year-old Ropvil Daciya, who the group abducted on January 9 on his way from his hometown of Jos to Maiduguri.
Thousands of young Nigerians, dressed in black, took to the streets of the city of Jos, in northcentral Nigeria, on January 30 to mourn the death of Ropvil Daciya.
The 22-year-old student was abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists three weeks earlier.
His uncle, David Daciya, confirmed an execution video released by the Islamic State News Agency was of the young man being killed.
“We the family regret the death of this our son, because his life span has been cut short,” he said.
Ropvil Daciya’s older brother, Makplang Daciya, said family members are still coming to terms with the loss.
“He was a God-fearing person, very generous and a hard-working person,” said Daciva.
Ropvil Daciya's death is the latest in a string of executions by the Boko Haram faction known as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Boko Haram has killed over 35,000 people and displaced over two million in Nigeria since launching its insurgency in 2009.
Security analyst Lahassan Baba said Nigeria needs to beef up efforts in rural communities to defeat the Islamist militants.
"You cannot find a lasting solution in the fight against insurgency, the government and security agencies need to step up their game by improving securities along the highways leading to the northeast, to secure all the traveler irrespective of their creed or religion or where they come from,” said Baba.
As night fell, friends and family gathered at the Daciya family house to pay last respects.
They lit candles and held them up in a farewell salute to the young student.
One after the other, the mourners placed their candle at the foot of a tree in the middle of the Daciya family compound.
Local youth leader Longul Dakwom said because the body has not been found, this is their only way of laying Ropvil Daciya to rest.
“We have seen the gory videos that went viral, and we share the same blood as human being, that really touched us deep. It really cut us so deep that we felt that even though we cannot get his corpse here we going to do a symbolic burial,” said Dakwom.
Meanwhile, Jos state’s student body president Sean Hoomualak is calling on the government to rescue Lillian Gyang, another student in Boko Haram captivity.
“As students that we are, we want to beg on the indulgence of the federal government and even the international community to come our aid as we still anticipate any information about Lilian Gyang," he said.
Following three days of prayer and fasting that ended on February 2, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), took to the streets in a nationwide march against Boko Haram's violence.
It raised concerns about the Christian community being a target of the Islamist militant group's recent executions.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to show unity and not allow Boko Haram to divide the nation along religious lines.