Suspected members of a radical Islamist sect shot dead a state television cameraman in Nigeria’s remote northeast union and military sources said, in what could be the first assassination of a journalist by the sect.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, has been blamed by authorities for near daily shootings and deadly bombings around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which sits in the far northeast corner of Africa’s most populous nation on borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The sect’s attacks usually target the police, military, prominent religious figures and drinking spots but in recent weeks journalists have been threatened by the group, which says it wants sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria, Reuters reports.
Alhaji Zakariya Isa, a journalist working for the government-owned Nigerian Television Authority, was killed by gunmen who attacked him at his home in Maiduguri.
“Zakariya was shot dead at his house in Bulunkutu Gomari by suspected Boko Haram this evening. We shall go to claim his body tomorrow for burial,” said Abba Kakami, the Borno state chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
“The NUJ will certainly take all the necessary steps to protect its members from further attacks.”
A member of the joint military task force operating in Borno state confirmed the incident, but asked not to be named.
It was not clear if Isa had been specifically targeted by Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is growing in ambition and sophistication and authorities in Nigeria and abroad believe it has strengthening ties with al Qaeda’s north African wing.
It claimed responsibility for Nigeria’s first known suicide bombing in August, driving a car full of explosives into U.N. headquarters in the capital Abuja, killing 24 people.
It threatened reporters recently after the group claimed spokesmen who weren’t part of the sect were being quoted in the media. The group has an ill-defined command structure and many people claim to speak on its behalf.