2012 Predators of Press Freedom: Nigeria - Boko Haram, Islamist group

The Boko Haram Islamist militia, responsible for bombings and suicide attacks on, among others, the United Nations, churches and police stations, has also made the media a target. It was behind two car bomb attacks on newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna in April this year.

Formed in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno, the group Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad ("People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad"), known as Boko Haram ("Western education is a sin"), preaches a rigorous and radical form of Islam. Its goal is the application of sharia throughout the country. It accuses the media of bias in its reporting of the group's conflict with the Nigerian government.

Its spokesman Abul Qaqa said: "We have repeatedly cautioned reporters and media houses to be professional and objective in their reports. This is a war between us and the government of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the media have not been objective and fair in their reports of the ongoing war; they chose to take sides."

The group claimed responsibility for the killing of Zakariya Isa, a reporter and cameraman for the state-owned Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), shot dead outside his home in Maiduguri last October on his way home after attending a mosque.

The group accused Isa of spying on it on behalf of Nigerian security forces, an allegation dismissed by his colleagues and the intelligence service.

In January this year, Enenche Godwin Akogwu, a correspondent for Channels TV, was shot dead while he was trying to interview victims of a series of deadly suicide bombings by Boko Haram in the northern city of Kano. The group is suspected to have killed him to prevent him from filing his report.


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