From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri
Barely 24 hours after the Boko Haram islamist sect called for truce, some gunmen believed to be members of the group yesterday shot dead a civil war commander and former member of the Supreme Military Council, General Muhammadu Mamman Shuwa. Shuwa, who fought the Civil War between 1967-1970 alongside his associate and former President Olusegun Obasanjo was killed in his house at Gwange 1 ward opposite Customs area of Maiduguri at noon almost an hour before the Friday (Juma’at) prayers.
Residents said the retired General usually receives guests in front of his house almost on daily basis, where long mats are spread for the guests, friends and other relations to seat in line with Kanuri/Shuwa tradition. “It is a usual thing for people to come to his house and today’s case was not different. He was seated with some guests and four people also came. Everybody thought they were there to greet him and then proceed to mosque with him unknown to them the four men were on different mission,” a resident said.
The killing of Gen Shuwa came barely a day after one Ibn Abdulaziz gave a hint on the desire of the Boko Haram sect to ceasefire and dialogue with the Federal Government “to end this thing” (attacks). Nobody has claimed responsibility for the killing. However, the JTF in a statement by its spokesman, Lt Col Sagir Musa said Gen Shuwa and one of his guests were killed by unknown gunmen at about 12 noon yesterday. Part of the statement reads”At 12 noon today (Friday) at General Mamman Shuwa (Rtd) house in Gwange 1 area of Maiduguri metropolis, while the General was seated in his house with some guests, four men initially thought to be his visitors and guests for the Juma,at prayers, entered his house and opened fire on the General and his guests.
One of the guests died on the spot while the general died on the way to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.” He disclosed that troops of the task force around the area had immediately cordoned off the area, adding that “search for the assailants is ongoing to apprehend them.” He assured that those who killed the General “will be brought to book.”
“We call on the citizens to bring forward information that will assist the security agencies to apprehend the terrorists,” he added. There were also conflicting reports of reported killing of many youths suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect allegedly by JTF within the metropolis on Thursday night.
While some claimed the suspected sect members were “randomly arrested” and shot dead at different locations including the troubled Gwange ward, Kalari, Abbaganaram area and Mafoni, another source also said security troops had engaged some suspected Boko Haram members in a shoot out in their purported hideout within the metropolis, leading to the death of about 30 of the sect members.
But Lt Col Sagir Musa in his reaction maintained he “is not aware of any killing.”