By NBF News

Journalists in Borno State were thrown into shock and mourning yesterday following the killing at the weekend of their colleague, Zakari Isa of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Maiduguri network centre by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram.

The gunmen numbering about three, had stormed the residence of the reporter at Gomari Airport ward at about 8 p.m on Saturday and shot him severally in the presence of his family.

Words went round immediately to journalists in the city to be watchful as the Boko Haram men might have turned to the media men as their next target. The state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abba Kakami, described the development as sad, adding that journalists were mediator in the Boko Haram crisis and harmless professionals who should be protected.

In a message to all State Executive Committee (SEC) members, the highest decision-making body of the union in the state, the Secretary, Alhaji Tahir, said, 'for every soul must taste death. Today (Saturday night), some unknown assailants have taken the life of our friend and colleague, Zakariya Isa of NTA.' The message appealed to all SEC members, chapel chairmen and secretaries ro assemble at a designated venue on Sunday morning.

Zakariya's murder was a turning-point in the activities of serial killings in Maiduguri, the state capital. The Islamist sect had, in a recent telephone interview on September 18, 2011 with journalists, warned against misrepresentation of its position in the media.

Deputy spokesman of the group, Abu Darman, said the media ought to be an impartial arbiter in the lingering crisis, but regretted that journalists often misrepresented the sect's position and action. 'Journalists ought to be true umpire in this crisis and not doing anything contrary because we believe you're professional people. But when you start doing anything contrary to that, we might be compelled to attack you and treat you as enemies just like the security agents and the traditional rulers who are their collaborators,' he stated.

Darman also warned the national and international broadcast media to always wait for the 'authentic spokesperson' for the group to comment on its activities rather than taking views from others 'unauthorized person.' However, Daily Sun could not ascertain as at Press time if the killing of Zakariya was a fallout of the threat and what he might have done to incur the sect's wrath.

The slain Zakariya Isa was a newscaster and Hausa translator with the NTA. His remains were buried yesterday according to Islamic rites.