Radical Islamic Sect Kills Journalist In Borno, Condemnation Trail Murder
SAN FRANCISCO, October 23, (THEWILL) – Suspected members of the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram on Saturday killed a journalist working for state owned outfit, the Nigerian Television Authority in Maiduguri, Borno State, according to both security officials and the State chapter of the union of journalists.
Alhaji Zakariya Isa, a news caster and translator was killed when gunmen invaded his home in Bulunkutu Gomari by gunmen in what has been seen as the first murder of a journalist since the radical Islamic sect resumed their violence after the election of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in April, this year.
Boko Haram, which mainly operates in the north especially in Borno State and environs has been blamed for several deadly attacks including bombings of police stations and military formations in that area. The group has also bombed the headquarters of the Nigeria police force and the UN in Abuja.
"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 (Sunday)," Abba Kakami, the Borno state chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) told news agency Reuters.
The sect had recently threatened to attack journalists after it claimed non sect members were being quoted in the media as speaking for the sect. It also claimed that journalists were misrepresenting the position of the sect.
It is however unclear whether the murder of Zakariya is a fulfillment of the sect’s threat.
The group has no ill-defined command structure and many people claim to be speaking on its behalf.
Meanwhile, opposition political party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the murder of Zakariya.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) described as a condemnable escalation of the Boko Haram crisis the reported killing of Zakariya Isa.
''If it is true, as it had been widely reported, that Boko Haram killed Isa, then it is a clear indication that things are really getting out of hand as far as this Boko Haram crisis is concerned,'' the party said in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
''Again, we call on the federal government to shake off its lethargy and act fast to find a solution to the crisis. With the government seemingly clueless as to how to tackle the crisis, we will like to reiterate our earlier call for the convening of a stakeholders' conference to help find a solution,'' it said.
The party also repeated its earlier statement that the use of force cannot end the Boko Haram crisis, saying there must be an engagement of sorts and it must happen as soon as possible to prevent more innocent lives been lost to gun attacks and bombings.
ACN said while the details of Isa's reported killings are still sketchy, the party is gravely worried that the journalist may have been targeted purely because of his professional duties.
''We are particularly concerned because a spokesman for Boko Haram, Abu Kaka, was quoted in a newspaper as warning last month that the sect would attack journalists if they continue to 'misrepresent' it,'' the party said.
''We wonder what the sect considers a 'misrepresentation', and hope Isa's killing is not a manifestation of the sect's threat.''
It urged Boko Haram to put an immediate end to the senseless attacks on innocent citizens and find a non-violent way to channel its grievances, whatever they may be.