Why we killed NTA journalist –Boko Haram
The Jama'atu Ahlus Sunnati Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram said that they were responsible for the killing of Zakariyya Isa, a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority's (NTA) Maiduguri Network Centre.
The group has also claimed responsibility for Saturday night's multiple attacks on a police station and banks in Saminaka, Kaduna State as well as last week's attack on a Mopol barracks in Kwami, Gombe State.
The group said Zakariyya was killed because he was “an informant of security agencies.” Spokesman of the group, Abul-Qaqa in a telephone conversation with huhuonline.com, said, “Zakariyya was not killed in error. We killed him because he was spying on us.”
There were earlier speculations that Zakariyya was a victim of “mistaken identity” because this is the first time that a journalist was killed since the beginning of the violence in Maiduguri, but Abul-Qaqa said the killing was “carefully planned and executed.”
According to him, “We have ample evidence beyond reasonable doubt that he was giving vital information to security agencies on our modus-operandi…We investigated thoroughly before we killed him.”
Asked to give more details on what the late journalist did, Qaqa said, “He gave information to security agents that led to the arrest of many of our members.” He added, “We sent him a text and told him that we would visit him. We killed him not because he was a journalist, but because of his personal misconduct. His actions were against the ethics of his profession.
“And I want to tell you that we have no grudge against journalists that are working in line with the professional provisions of their work. Whenever they misquote or misrepresent our position, we normally call them and tell them to correct the error,” Qaqa said.
He said the group will not hesitate to kill anybody that “steps on our toes.” According to him, “Zakariyya was responsible for his actions and the consequences that followed. Nobody, no matter who can go free if he or she spies on us.”
On the issue of dialogue, Qaqa said, “We cannot talk on that because it makes no sense to us. How can you talk of dialogue when government and security agencies are busy arresting and persecuting our members?” He said the group will continue to attack government and security formations in Nigeria.
When contacted on phone, Borno State Police Commissioner, Simeon Midenda said he was in Abuja. Efforts to speak to officials of the Joint Task Force (JTF) were not successful. Also Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, the Head of Field Operations of the JTF did not answer a call to his line.
The killing of Zakariyya had sent jitters into the nerves of journalists in Maiduguri, with many thinking on how to strike a balance in covering the crisis in the state. Late Zakariyya, who worked as a cameraman and Hausa translator at the NTA, was shot at close range on Saturday night in front of his house at Bulunkutu area of Maiduguri. Witnesses said two gunmen trekked to the house and shot him in the head and chest before they fled.
A native of Potiskum Local Government area of Yobe State, Zakariyya had worked at the Maiduguri network centre of the NTA for many years. He was married with children.