Two Nigerian journalists were killed late last week in the escalating terrorist violence in Africa’s most populous country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Enenche Akogwu, 31, a television reporter for independent station Channels TV was gunned down on Friday, while trying to interview witnesses of bombings in the northern city of Kano. At least 185 people were killed in the attack, according to the Associated Press.
Kayode Akintemi, the general manager of operations for Channels TV said the killers were thought to be members of Boko Haram, and Islamist militant group that has claimed responsibility for hundreds of deaths in Nigeria this year alone.
“I was calling him by Friday early evening, his phone was just ringing, but he did not pick it, only for me to hear later that night that he had been killed by gunmen,” Akintemi said in a statement posted on the website of Leadership Newspapers, a Nigerian news source.
On Thursday, a day before Akogwu’s murder, Nansok Sallah a 46-year-old editor for the government-owned radio station Highland FM was found dead, face-down in a shallow stream, not far from a military checkpoint near the Nigerian city of Jos, according to the CPJ. The organization called for an investigation into his death, saying Sallah’s collegues suspected assassination because valuables were found on his body.
Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram is responsible for 935 deaths since it began violent attacks in 2009. In a report released yesterday, the rights group called upon Nigerian authorities to stop Boko Haram, a task made complicated because the group is believed to have allies within the government. HRW describes the mayhem in Nigeria:
“The group has claimed responsibility for bombing churches, police stations, military facilities, banks, and beer parlors, in northern Nigeria, as well as the United Nations building and police headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital. Suspected Boko Haram members, often riding motorcycles and carrying Kalashnikov rifles under their robes, have gunned down numerous Christian worshipers, police officers, and soldiers, and assassinated local politicians, community leaders, and Islamic clerics who oppose the group.”
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is a sin," is a militant group fighting to extend Shariah law beyond the mostly-Muslim northern parts of Nigeria. At the beginning of the year, the group warned southern Christians to flee the north. Since then, Boko Haram has claimed responsibilty for 253 deaths, according to HRW.