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Nigerian Journalist Found Hacked to Death

FILE - A police vehicle drives through Yola, in Adamawa state, Nigeria, Feb. 15, 2019. A Nigerian reporter has died after being found Jan. 15, 2020, bound and gagged in a farmer's field in the area.

A Nigerian reporter has died after being discovered bound, gagged and near death in a farmer's field in Adamawa state.

In a development first reported by regional news outlets, Maxwell Nashan, a newscaster with government-owned Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), appears to have been abducted from his home before being bound, gagged and hacked to death.

Women who discovered Nashan in the early hours of Jan. 15 contacted Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, who rushed to the scene but were unable to save Nashan, who died shortly after arriving at a hospital.

Police officials have confirmed the killing but have yet to determine whether it was tied to Nashan's work as a journalist.

Donald Didan, Adamawa state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, urged police to bring the assailants to justice, and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday called on Nigerian officials to conduct a thorough investigation.

Colleagues of Nashan, who covered the Adamawa state house of assembly and was preparing for his wedding in the days leading up to the attack, told CPJ they were not aware of any threats made against the journalist. Local police, however, said they found a message Nashan had sent from his cellphone saying his life was in danger.

Nashan's relatives described evidence of a break-in at his home in the Lainde community, where nothing but his computer was missing.

"Maxwell Nashan must not become just another crime statistic, and investigators must consider whether his journalism was the motive for his killing," Angela Quintal, CPJ's Africa program coordinator, said in a prepared statement. "Authorities in Nigeria must work to ensure the safety of reporters, which includes investigating acts of violence against members of the press."

CPJ said police had arrested eight suspects in connection with the case.

At least five journalists have been killed in relation to their work in Nigeria since 2010, according to CPJ, which ranks Nigeria 12th on its 2019 impunity index.