Reporters Without Borders condemns TV reporter Enenche Godwin Akogwu’s targeted murder while covering a series of deadly bombings by the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram on 20 January in the northern city of Kano, and urges the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to justice.
“Akogwu’s death is especially shocking as he was not one of the direct victims of the bombings but was gunned down shortly afterward while trying to cover them,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He is the second journalist to be killed by Boko Haram, following Zakariya Isa, who was shot outside his home in Maiduguri, another northern city, on 22 October 2011.
“As well as attacking federal government buildings or churches, as it did on Christmas Day, Boko Haram has shown a new side to its violence with this targeted killing; it has shown itself to be an enemy of the media and journalists as well. We firmly condemn Akogwu’s murder, we offer our condolences to his family, colleagues and friends, and we urge the authorities to quickly adopt measures to protect reporters.”
Akogwu, 31, was the Kano correspondent of Channels TV. He was slain by an unidentified gunman while trying to interview victims outside Farm central police station on Justice Dahiru Musdapher Road, which was one of the targets of the suicide bombings.
Akogwu was from Aiodio, in the Otikpa district of Ogbadibo, in the southeastern state of Benue. After joining Channels TV in Abuja three years ago, he was sent to Kano. He had never been threatened and had just received an award from the station’s chairman for the quality of his work. President Goodluck Jonathan, who has pledged to end Boko Haram’s attacks, offered his condolences to Akogwu’s family.
At least 166 people were killed in a total of about 20 explosions on 20 January at eight strategic locations in Kano, which included the police headquarters, an intelligence agency building, an immigration department building and the home of a senior police officer. The bombings were claimed by Boko Haram, which was almost certainly also responsible for Akogwu’s murder.
The body of radio journalist Nansok Silas was found on 19 January in a stream under a bridge on the Zaramagada-Rayfield road, 200 metres from a military checkpoint, in Jos (the capital of the central state of Plateau), where he worked for Highland FM.
As nothing of value was taken from him, his colleagues fear that he was the victim of a targeted murder, but the cause of death and possible motive are still unknown. From the Langtang North area in Plateau state, Sallah had worked for Highland FM for three years and hosted a programme called Highland Profile. He had not received any threats.
Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and to do their utmost to shed light on Sallah’s death.
Photos : Attacks in Kano on the 20th of January 2012 (Aminu Abubakar / AFP)